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Eco-Terrorist

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Owen Ayers, former officer in the Navy... This guy's a war hero. Medical discharge in 2011 after participating in Operation Tomodachi. The U.S.military relief effort at Fukushima. Flew into an unscheduled emergency venting of radioactive gas. He and several members of his crew got radiation poisoning. He was the victim of a nuclear meltdown, so now he wants to cause one.
FBI profile on Owen Ayers aka Gaia, an ecoterrorist in Reddington's blacklist in The Blacklist
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A person who uses violence and terror to try to save the planet from ecological catastrophe, the Eco-Terrorist is generally a Well-Intentioned Extremist — with an emphasis on extreme — or a Knight Templar. The milder versions, being well-intentioned, may try to avoid harming people, and will confine themselves to actions like blowing up polluting factories in the middle of the night, and things like that. More extreme ones will have no hesitation to kill those they deem responsible — directly or indirectly — for harming the planet. And the most extreme of all will see humans as a blight on the planet, and think the only way forward is to eliminate the species.

Most Eco-terrorists will view themselves as a sort of human incarnation of Gaia's Revenge. In works with Grey and Gray Morality, they will often be fighting Toxic, Inc., who may even try to frame them with a False Flag Operation.

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An eco-terrorist may be a lone wolf or part of a larger organization. (In real life, the former is more common.) Clandestine eco-terrorists may hide behind more legitimate environmental organizations — which, in some cases, can lead to unfortunate consequences for the more legitimate groups, if the connection is discovered.

Larger organizations may have a more international scope than most other flavors of terrorist — an eco-terrorist group might well have both Western and Far-East Asian Terrorists working side-by-side.

Very closely related to the Animal Wrongs Group, but with a much broader scope of interest, which includes not just animals, but also plants, habitats, and, well, the entire ecosystem. May overlap with Evil Luddite if they believe that technology is the biggest threat to the environment. See also Malthusian Catastrophe, which egregiously extreme eco-terrorists are frequently deeply concerned with preventing.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Twinkle Maria Murdock and her family of Space Warriors from Cowboy Bebop. With delusion of grandeur she leaves the non violent protest groups and habitually targets restaurants that serve a species of sea rat and guns everyone down, before planning to wipe out the entire human population.

    Audio Play 
  • The Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Hothouse" has Alex Marlowe, a former rockstar who heads up an eco-terrorist group who are trying to create Human/Krynoid hybrids at a secret laboratory deep in the jungle, in the hopes that this will help the jungle fight back against humanity.

    Comic Book 
  • Some writers' versions of Poison Ivy paint her as an eco-terrorist who uses extreme violence trying to save plants from the evils of humanity.
  • In Kingdom Come, former hero Hawkman has essentially become a mild version of this, who has no hesitation about using violence against loggers and others who threaten his precious Pacific Northwest.
  • Anderson: Psi-Division has a storyline about an eco-terrorist who tries to unleash a form of Mutagenic Goo which makes plants attack people.
  • Polish superhero parody comic book series Likwidator intentionally embraces this trope and takes it to its logical extreme. The storyline consists mostly of the main hero wandering around killing evil people who mistreat nature — eg. cut trees, work in environment-polluting factories, hunt, buy meat in the store, keep their dog on a leash... Most readers get gravely offended, which is probably the point.

    Fan Works 
  • In Shadowchasers Series continuity, Red Feather (back when she called herself White Feather) had only good intentions for the environment in mind. In fact, to this day, she is repulsed by groups who take it too far. But back then, she was naïve to the ways of humans, and too reluctant to use technology to research new members thoroughly. This resulted in two eco-terrorists joining her group by mistake, and a disaster that she had to take responsibility for. In the present day, having been released on parole, she renamed herself Red Feather (as the purity her old name represented had been tarnished) and joined the title organization to defend nature with a more hands-on approach.

    Film 
  • 12 Monkeys pulls a bait-and-switch with this. In the near future, a plague has nearly wiped out humanity, forcing the survivors to live underground. Evidence points to The Army of the 12 Monkeys being responsible for the plague, but they're just the Red Herring. The actual creator of the plague was Dr. Peters, an assistant at a virology lab — who had spoken before about the "lunacy" of mankind's environmental destruction.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Nick Van Owen sabotages the InGen expedition to Isla Sorna by releasing all the dinosaurs they captured, causing a stampede that destroys most of their equipment. Later, he removes the bullets from Roland Tembo's hunting rifle, causing the deaths of almost the entire expedition when a T. rex attacks the camp and the rest flee into a Velociraptor-infested area.
  • Aquaman has King Orm, who takes the Atlantean ecological resentment for the humans on the surface (they pollute the seas and through Global Warming cause the acidification of the oceans) one step further. As his first act before he forms an army to subdue mankind, he sends massive waves that both flood coastal cities and fill them with sunken warships and trash thrown in the oceans.
  • Thanos is revealed to be the Malthusian Catastrophe-fearing variant of eco-terrorist in Avengers: Infinity War. In his backstory, his homeworld, Titan, faced an overpopulation crisis, with the leaders desperately seeking a solution. Thanos proposed that half of the planet's population be killed off, with who lived and who died being determined strictly by random chance. Understandably, the leaders of Titan were aghast with Thanos' solution and adamantly refused to implement it; however, no effective alternative was found, and the overpopulation crisis continued to grow in severity until it actually became a full-blown Malthusian Catastrophe, which ultimately resulted in all life on Titan except for Thanos himself dying and the planet becoming a barren desert world. [[FreudianExcuse This tragedy fuels Thanos' relentless desire to "balance the universe" by killing half of all lifeforms on all worlds — no more, no less, selected randomly — in order to spare the universe as a whole from suffering the apocalyptic fate his home faced and succumbed to, and he seeks the Infinity Stones simply because they are the most efficient means of accomplishing his goal. Unusually, Thanos manages to remain sympathetic despite his desire for mass slaughter because of his willingness to do whatever it takes — even things that are extremely painful for him to do — in order to do what he sincerely believes is in the best interest all living things.

    Light Novels 
  • L: change the WorLd features the most extreme version, with a group called Blue Ship who want to kill off most of humanity with a supervirus in order to save the environment.

    Literature 
  • In The Oregon Files novel Skeleton Coast, the crew of the Oregon uncovers a plot to create a deliberate toxic spill in order to enlighten people about the damage such things can cause.
  • In Zodiac by Neal Stephenson, the protagonist, Sangamon Taylor, is accused of being this by his opponents. His willingness to resort to illegal methods to fight pollutors lends some weight to the accusation.
  • Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk, the boyfriend of the very odd realtor, Helen Hoover Boyle, turns out to be an eco-terrorist who ends up becoming the Token Evil Teammate.
  • Pictures at 11 by Norman Spinrad is about a group of international eco-terrorists who take over a Los Angeles television station with guns and bombs in order to get their message out.
  • Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy features the world threatening version of this trope: utilizing a Batman Gambit in setting off attacks to gain attention, then getting their own soldiers as security to unleash a virus to wipe out the human race, then spreading said virus masked as a vaccine after the initial outbreak.
  • State of Fear by Michael Crichton is about hippie eco-terrorists with an elaborate plan to flood the US in order to convince people that global warming is real.
  • Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River is, as the title might suggest, about tracking down an eco-terrorist who wants to destroy a dam on the Colorado river to restore the habitat.
  • The Prince Roger series features these as the villains opposed to the Empire of Man. They're an interstellar empire of environmentalist extremists who are a Strawman Political nation for the authors.
  • The FROMATES (FRiends Of Man And The Earth) terrorist group in Oath of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. They totally oppose the arcology Todos Santos and commit kidnapping, attempted arson, murder and attempted mass murder in their campaign to destroy it (and everyone living in it).
  • The group "Mother Earth" in Ben Elton's novel This Other Eden is an example. It turns out they are actually a sort of anti-PR wing for an oil giant.
  • The terrorist organisation Force Three in the Alex Rider novel Ark Angel. They turn out to be a subversion, as they're being bankrolled by Nikolei Drevin, and their environmentalist goals are just a Red Herring to stop anyone drawing a connection between the two.
  • The Anti-Tractionist League in Mortal Engines, who attempt to end the environmentally destructive policy of Municipal Darwinism through acts of sabotage and the occasional assassination of prominent Tractionist leaders. In the later books, they are deposed by the considerably more militant Green Storm, who wage all-out war against the Tractionist cities and deploy Cyborgs and Suicide Attacks as part of their war effort. The Storm's leader, Stalker Fang, eventually hatches a plot to fire a Kill Sat to trigger a chain of dormant volcanoes, hoping that humanity will die off but life itself will survive and return the planet to its natural state.
  • The antagonist in Saints at the River is Luke Miller, a pissed-off environmentalist that believes that building a temporary dam to recover the body of a drowned child (and thus alter the river flow) would set a precedent that would enable further damage to the environment. Maggie, the journalist who is the protagonist in the story, returns to her hometown to chronicle the dispute between the townsfolk who want to recover the body by building the dam and the environmentalists, led by Luke, who try to thwart the plan. Luke is depicted as a misanthropic Cloudcuckoolander who believes that nature, particularly the titular river, is the only thing in the world that's pure.
  • In John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata, "Greens" conspire to sabotage the war effort and let most of humanity get killed by a Horde of Alien Locusts that eat anything organic on invaded planets, and then swarm to others once the biosphere collapses, fueled by a mixture of antipathy towards civilization and ignorance of Posleen behavior.
  • The novelized version of Tom Clancy's EndWar has a terrorist group led by a guy named Green Vox. They're an environmental group and during the Soviet invasion of Canada decide to blow up the oil fields with NUCLEAR WEAPONS... because oil is polluting the environment!
  • The CHERUB Series has the Help Earth! group which first appears in The Recruit, where they plan to make an attack on a conference between several major oil executives. They return in Divine Madness, where they destroy Natural Gas facilities for Church of Happyology The Survivors.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth novel Flinx in Flux features as its primary antagonists a fanatical ecoterrorist group who believe in destroying all forms of "exploitation" of the natural order by humans. Their current target: a small genetic engineering firm working on the planet Longtunnel, which is renowned for the plasticity of its native lifeforms. Flinx gets involved when he accidentally rescues one of the company's researchers, the lovely and talented Clarity Held, who was kidnapped, interrogated, beaten, and left for dead on Alaspin. The group later mounts a full-scale armed assault on the Longtunnel facilities, and eventually tries to capture Flinx himself, once they learn what he is. In this final battle, they pull a Nice Job Fixing It, Villain! by accidentally breaking the mechanism keeping Flinx and Pip asleep.
  • In "The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers" novel Blown Away, the person behind the attempted bombing of the Billington Resort is a member of the terrorist group Ecology First, which resorts to extreme methods in order to preserve the environment.
  • Joe Pickett: Robert in Below Zero. His final act after a string of murders is to attempt to blow up a coal-fired power station.
  • Killer Species: Series villain Dr. Catalyst starts as a Well-Intentioned Extremist (albeit a highly egotistical one), creating hybrid super-predators for the purpose of hunting and destroying invasive species in Florida. However, when people react to his actions by trying to eliminate his creations and the government publicly labels him a terrorist, he winds up focusing more on eliminating those who oppose him, with his hybrids in books 3 and 4 being specifically created to go after humans.

    Live Action TV 
  • Elementary, episode "The Long Fuse", features an eco-terrorist named Edgar Knowles, who becomes a suspect in a bombing when his distinctive pattern of speech is matched to some threatening emails.
  • In Smallville, Aquaman first appears as an eco-terrorist trying to stop a sonic weapon created by Lex Luthor from going into production.
  • In Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell, Gary's co-worker Ted is revealed to have been a mail-bombing eco-terrorist back when he was alive.
  • A Spooks season 8 episode has a group of eco-terrorists who kidnap what they consider to be a group of Corrupt Corporate Executives for an on-line trial by Internet viewers, with lives on the line.
  • An episode of Criminal Minds had an arsonist who began murdering men involved with corporations accused of being heavy polluters, as well as their families. It turns out he was acting alone, and was nothing more than a sadistic psychopath (he used a suit that allowed him to watch his victims burn up close). His actions disgusted the local environmental group whose website he was using to find his "justifiable" victims, especially the leader, who kills him in an instance of Taking You with Me.
  • In Bull, at the start of the episode "Dirty Little Secret", a bombing takes place that was said to be done by eco-terrorists. At the end, it's revealed that an international consortium is trying to frame them.
  • The villains of the Doctor Who story "Invasion of the Dinosaurs" are a group of eco-fanatics who are plotting to abuse a time machine to Ret Gone the entire human race apart from themselves so that they can create a new green civilisation. Only the leaders are aware of this, as their minions are being deliberately deceived into thinking that they're going to colonise an alien planet.

    Music 
  • The Rise Against song "The Eco-Terrorist in Me" is an homage to the concept, suggesting that "burning factories" is acceptable because businessmen are the "true criminals."

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Monsterpocalypse, the "Terrasaur" faction (Godzilla-like giant dinosaurs) are backed by an eco-terrorist group known as Green Fury. (A shout-out to Godzilla's origins as a warning of the dangers of nuclear testing.)
  • Shadowrun
    • In the backstory of the game, an eco-terrorist group, TerraFirst!, is used as an excuse to give big corporations more rights to hire and use mercenary troops.
    • 3rd Edition supplement Loose Alliances. There are a number of other ecoterrorist organizations in the Shadowrun universe.
      • The Green Cells are the European version of the TerraFirst! group. They are organized in a cell structure without a central command. They carry out hit-and-run physical attacks, magical sabotage, and Matrix strikes on anti-environment targets.
      • GreenWar is an ultra-extreme group that carries out vicious attacks such as dumping acid in water supplies, bombing corporate offices, causing toxic oil spills and using biological warfare (weaponized diseases).
    • Some shamans (magic-users) are corrupted by toxic waste and pollution and become toxic shamans. Avengers will ruthlessly attack and destroy anything that harms the environment, while Poisoners annihilate anything that might even possibly hurt the natural world.
  • Man Last from Damnation Decade are a militantly anti-human civilization. They want to push humanity off the top of the food chain and are planning to use an extraterrestrial virus to wipe out the majority of the human race once they vaccinate themselves against it.
  • In the background for Blood Bowl, the dryad Star Player Willow Rosebark has been implicated in the vandalism of a number of stadiums constructed from wood taken from sacred groves, as well as the assault of woodsmen and craftsmen working on such stadia. She will also offer her services to teams playing opponents known to cause damage to arboreal environments.

    Video Games 
  • The Gaians in Freelancer fit this mold, staging murderous attacks on terraforming companies, polluting industries, their allies, and anyone else they deem an environmental threat. Even though terraformed planets were just lifeless iceballs before humans showed up, and most pollution is tossed into the nearest sun.
  • Empire Earth 2 has a mission where eco-terrorists are preventing a player-allied tribe from fishing, forcing you to keep sending them food until the terrorists are defeated. This is far easier said than done, as the terrorists also have access to battleships and submarines.
  • Final Fantasy VII: AVALANCHE believe that Shinra Corporation's Mako reactors are harvesting the very soul of the planet to generate electricity. Their solution: launch violent raids on reactor sites, slaughter Shinra's guards, and bomb the reactors. But in their defense, they were completely right.
  • The Cult of Planet in Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire is kind of like this, except they are defending an environment that is more than capable of defending itself, and believe in their cause so strongly that they would gladly let humanity go extinct to preserve Planet. (They can convince Planet not to kill them by doing this, and in fact lend them aid in the form of slightly more docile — to them — wildlife.)
  • In Mega Man ZX Advent, Thetis is one of the villains, and his motivation for terrorizing the people (and feeding their souls to his Model W Fragment) is that people have been ruining his beloved seas.
  • Eco-terrorist hippies occasionally spawn during the "FUZZ" activity in Saints Row 2.
  • In Civilization: Call to Power II, late-game civilizations running the Ecotopia government can recruit units actually called Eco-terrorists. Their deadliest weapon, the Nanite Cleanser, removes all signs of human habitation in its radius — mines, farms, cities.
  • Caleb Goldman, the primary villain of The House of the Deadnote , is a classic example of this; motivated by disgust at the destruction humanity has caused to the global ecosystem, he funds Dr. Curien's research into life and death and deliberately uses the results to unleash a Zombie Apocalypse and cripple humanity. note 
  • The Pokémon franchise has quite a few examples of this kind of character; naturally, they tend to be in the villainous teams. In fact, of all the antagonistic groups from the core games, only Team Rocket, the original villainous team of the franchise, and Team Galactic, would-be usurpers of creation, don't fit the mold of ecoterrorism in some form (and Team Galactic could be argued to be spiritual eco-terrorists).
    • Team Magma and Team Aqua, the villain teams of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, are two directly opposed groups of ecoterrorists. Both want to expand the available living space of certain Pokémon, but their goals are zero-sum with respect to each other; Team Magma wants to expand the world's landmasses (and shrink the world's oceans) to create new habitats for humans and terrestrial Pokémon, while Team Aqua wants to expand the world's oceans (and shrink the world's landmasses) to extend the domain of aquatic and marine Pokémon. To achieve their goals, they respectively seek to awaken Groudon and Kyogre, a pair of legendary Pokémon who rule over land and sea, respectively, and possess the power to summon sweltering sunlight or torrential downpours to expand their realms. In the climax, depending on the version of the game you're playing, either Team Magma or Team Aqua (or both) manage to awaken their desired legendary Pokémon, and quickly end up realizing that doing so was a terrible idea — in Ruby, Groudon awakens and begins evaporating the oceans entirely without Kyogre to keep it in check; in Sapphire, Kyogre awakens and begins flooding the entire world without Groudon to hold it back; and in Emerald, both Pokémon awaken and begin fighting for dominance over each other, causing extremely chaotic and destructive weather to ensue. Thankfully, the player manages to defeat or catch the out-of-control legendary Pokémon (or, in Pokémon Emerald, alert Rayquaza, the ruler of the sky and mediator between Groudon and Kyogre, to the catastrophic squabble between the two titans, resulting in it swooping down to Sootopolis City to break up their fight and calm them down); either way, the balance between land and sea is restored, and Maxie and Archie, the leaders of Team Magma and Team Aqua, repent their misdeeds.
    • Team Plasma, the villain team of Pokémon Black and White, is an Animal Wrongs Group, with its leader, N, believing that people and Pokémon need to be separated for everybody's sake. A more thorough description of Team Plasma's actions and their leadership can be found on the Animal Wrongs Group page. note 
    • Team Flare, the villain team of Pokémon X and Y, initially appear to not be an ecologically-driven organization; their activities for most of the game are illicit money-making endeavors at the expense of innocent people and Pokémon. However, making as much money as possible is not their true goal; their leader, Lysandre, turns out to be a bitter, insane misanthropist who firmly believes that there is a finite amount of happiness in the world, that the world’s population is too large for happiness to be available to everyone, and that the vast majority of people and Pokémon are simple-minded, selfish beings whose very existence is a blight on the world. Team Flare is his attempt to gather together as many of the few people whose existence he deems worthwhile as he can before he harnesses the power of the legendary Pokémon Xerneas or Yveltal (depending on the game version) with AZ's ultimate weapon to kill off the rest of the population. Naturally, the player has to capture Xerneas or Yveltal to put a stop to Lysandre's plans.
  • Team Skull, the villain team of Pokémon Sun and Moon, are not an example of an eco-terrorist organization, being a group of hoodlums with no grand ambitions beyond making a living by any means necessary and lashing out at a world that they believe has rejected them. Team Skull wouldn't even be worth mentioning on this page if not for the fact that they are secretly backed by the Aether Foundation, an organization that exists to protect wild Pokémon populations and the habitats that they live in. However, the Aether Foundation isn't an example of eco-terrorism either, as their ecological preservation goals have nothing to do with their criminal activities; they only do bad things because their leader, Lusamine, is a psychotic nutcase with an obession with Ultra Beasts and a very warped, egocentric view of the concept of love. Team Skull and its boss, Guzma, directly assist Lusamine in her endeavors to reclaim Cosmog from her runaway daughter, Lillie, and use it to open a gateway to Ultra Space, and the climax of the game begins with their successful abduction of Lillie and Cosmog, forcing the player, Hau, and Gladion to storm the Aether Foundation's headquarters to rescue them. note  Once Lusamine is defeated and restored to her senses, the Aether Foundation returns to being a benevolent, legitimate ecological preservation organization, and Guzma, like Maxie, Archie, and N before him, also resolves to change his ways and be a friendlier Pokémon trainer.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • SCP-804 was an anomalous modern art piece called "A World Without Man" that caused the decomposition of all man-made material, as well as human flesh, within a 100-meter radius. What the Foundation researchers found especially horrifying was that there was no Mind Manipulation involved in its activation.
    Dr. Johannes Sorts: A cure for the virus known as humanity. So why did a group of activists throw themselves and their neighbors into the deadly workings of a machine that they thought was going to wipe all human life off of Mother Earth? They simply wanted to do it.
  • How To Hero mentions eco-terrorists as one of the many types of bad guys superheroes might have to fight.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Superfriends 1973-74 episode "Dr. Pelagian's War", Dr. Pelagian is an eco-terrorist out to stop three polluting businessmen.
  • The Archer episode "Pipeline Fever" has Joshua "Gandolph" Gray, an eco-terrorist who wants to blow up oil pipelines in the Louisiana bayou. Archer and Lana are dispatched to stop him.
  • An episode of American Dad! had Hayley falling in with an environmentalist group whose leader insists that he's a "tree born in a man's body" and "wears" nothing but a potted plant. He also tries to blow up the new mall, but only succeeds in destroying Francine's muffin kiosk and Klaus' human body from the main plot. When he does this, Haley rejects him, shoving him over and breaking his pot, causing him to desperately heap dirt around his body while acting like he's suffocating.
  • The SWAT Kats pursue and shoot down an eco-terrorist named Morbulus, who likes to blow up refineries, even though that's where he'd get his jet fuel from. Morbulus escapes capture, only to cross paths with Doctor Viper, who transmutes him into a four-eyed blob monster.

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