1. The large mainstream environmentalism groups started to compromise too much with regulatory agencies and bureaus, starting with the Glen Canyon Dam project. This began an estrangement with the mainstreams that culminated in the rise of more militant groups like Earth First! Glen Canyon represented what was fundamentally wrong with the country’s conservation policies: arrogant government officials motivated by a quasireligious zeal to industrialize the natural world, and a diffident bureaucratic leadership in the mainstream environmental organizations that more or less willingly collaborated in this process.
The mainstream environmental groups and government held the premise that mankind should control and manage the natural world. The radicals held that our technological culture with its intrusions on natural world had to be curtailed, perhaps even undone, to keep the ecology of this planet and our role in it viable. It marked a shift from a rearguard strategy (mainstream) to protect wilderness to an affirmative attempt to roll back the artifacts of civilization, to restore the world to the point where natural processes such as the flow of rivers could continue.
The mainstream environmental movement is now perceived by many as out of touch with people’s deep concern about environmental degradation, has become systematized. The activists use approaches such as industrial vandalism or “ecotage” to foster dramatic results.
Some other methods employed are tree spiking, tree sitting, road blockading, demonstrations, tree pinning, ship sinking, dam breaking and outright terrorist-type sabotage (bombing power stations, bridges, power line, etc.)
There may be some complimentary results of the efforts of both mainstream and radical groups. The large environmental organizations, while denouncing the radical’s confrontational activities, have then been able to use their ample finances to take the campaign to Congress or the courts with the impetus of public support the radicals generated. 2. With Soule’s quote, including “Vertebrate evolution may be at an end” it means that the civilization complex has lost its reference point by overwhelming the natural processes it has always used to define itself. The otherness of nature is disappearing into the artificial world of technology. As the environmental crisis worsens, we can expect increased attention directed at the ecological sciences, resource management, pollution control, and technological supervision of the reproduction of valued species, including man.
Toynbee writes that the ecological scarcity of the future will be so severe that the “within each of the beleaguered ‘developed’ countries there will be a bitter struggle for control of their diminished resources”.
This conflict will inevitably lead to the imposition of authoritarian regimes. There is already evidence of “ecological elite’s” where power and status are increasingly measured not merely by economic control, but by control over the ecology. Access to clean water, fresh air, open wild spaces, and natural products is competing with ownership of German autos and Swiss watches. It is becoming the main preoccupation of political debate. As an example, even when a corporation decides to create a item through genetic or non-genetic engineering, it is often indirectly determining what species will be exterminated to increase profits, which habitats will be sacrificed for economic growth, and whose children will be allocated the toxic water, poisoned food, and radioactive living space. If the environmental crisis is causing us to reexamine and reject the accepted values of the civilization complex in its entirety, a unique event is taking place: the passing of civilization into history.
2. Societal breakdown in the face of a continually deteriorating physical world may face many problems.
As stated above by historian Toynbee, a conflict may lead to the imposition of authoritarian regimes.
Political scientist Ophuls offers a similar view, that “in the light of ecological scarcity… the individualistic basis of society, the concept of inalienable rights, the purely self-defined pursuit of happiness, liberty as maximum freedom of action, and laissez-faire itself all require abandonment if we wish to avoid inexorable environmental degradation and perhaps extinction as a civilization”. Economist Heilbroner see this process of environmental disarray as transcending political distinctions between capitalist and socialist countries, irregardless of the conservative thinking that “democratic” capitalism has triumphed over communism. He believes that the urgencies of the future “point to the conclusion that only an authoritarian, or possible only a revolutionary,! regime will be capable of mounting