Friends of the Earth were created as a spinoff from the Sierra Club by former executive director David Brower. His thinking was that the people that are easily named extreme make the people who were extreme seem suddenly reasonable (Confessions of an Eco-Warrior). It was an ingenious use of the Durkheim Constant which notes that as behaviour worsens, the community adjusts its standards so that conduct once thought reprehensible is no longer deemed so.Friends of the Earth has now filed a lawsuit against the federal government for failing to abide by its Kyoto commitments. Meanwhile, Brower has turned his energies toward Earth First!
Earth First! was named in 1979 in response to a lethargic, compromising, and increasingly corporate environmental community. Earth First! takes a decidedly different tack towards environmental issues. We believe in using all the tools in the tool box, ranging from grassroots organizing and involvement in the legal process to civil disobedience and monkeywrenching.Those interested in furthering the agenda have since parted with Earth First and moved on to Earth Liberation Front:
It was founded in 1992 in Brighton, England by Earth First! members who refused to abandon criminal acts as a tactic when others wished to move Earth First! into the mainstream. The group jumped to North America in the mid-90's. Historically, the group has concentrated efforts on the timber industry and animal rights issues. More recent actions indicate that some ELF factions are also targeting suburban sprawl, with New York a hotspot for this type of activity. Within the past year, a number of under-construction condominiums and luxury homes have been set on fire by ELF operatives. Subsequent press releases describe an "an unbounded war on urban sprawl", adding that "we will not tolerate the destruction of our island" and "if you build it we will burn it."Presumably, it will soon be considered intolerant to arrest such people who destroy people's livelihoods along with the economy.