Taylor, Bron, "Radical Environmentalism’s Print History: From Earth First! to Wild Earth"

Earth First! Fist

Taylor, Bron. “Radical Environmentalism’s Print History: From Earth First! to Wild Earth.” Environment & Society Portal, Multimedia Library, August 2013 (revised August 2017). http://www.environmentandsociety.org/node/5647.

In this essay, Bron Taylor offers background about the events that gave rise to the Earth First! movement and reviews some of the watershed moments in its history:

Earth First!, the best known of the so called “radical environmental” groups, was founded in 1980 in the southwestern United States. Dave Foreman, who had been working for The Wilderness Society, was the most charismatic and well-connected of the new movement’s co-founders. He soon sent out a mimeographed announcement of the group, explaining that politics as usual—electoral politics and lobbying—had failed to significantly slow, let alone halt the destruction of the wilderness areas and a corresponding decline of the continent’s biodiversity. With the slogan, “No compromise in defense of mother earth!”—and punctuating their passion by putting an explanation point at the end of their moniker Earth First!—Foreman and his comrades promoted the idea that every life form, and indeed every ecosystem, has intrinsic value and a right to live and flourish regardless of human interests… Soon after Earth First!’s founding, its mimeographed announcement morphed into Earth First!: The Radical Environmental Journal. While much has been written about this movement and its influence on environmental politics in the United States and other countries, there is no better way—apart from having been present when these activists gather to play, plot strategy, or protest—to get a visceral feel for the movement than by perusing the journal.

Creative Commons License CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.
Bron Taylor, 2013, 2017. Published under a Creative Commons license.

Peruse the collection “Earth First! Movement Writings” and visit Bron Taylor’s Virtual Exhibition “Radical Environmentalism’s Print History: From Earth First! to Wild Earth” on the Environment & Society Portal.


Further readings: 
  • Abbey, Edward. The Monkey Wrench Gang. New York: Lippincott, 1975.
  • Manes, Christopher. Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990.
  • Taylor, Bron, and Michael Zimmerman. “Deep Ecology.” In The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Taylor, 456-60. London: Thoemmes Continuum, 2005.