"A fascinating premise—that the radical environmental group Earth First! can be understood in religious terms, as a millenarian movement—gets an unfortunately thin treatment in Lee's study. Millenarian and apocalyptic movements anticipate the end of the era, with the former looking toward the coming of a new age, the latter envisioning the end of the world. Earth First! fits dramatically into this framework, with its adherents predicting environmental collapse: as Earth First-er Christopher Manes writes in Green Rage, "The understanding of radical environmentalism . . . begins at the end, the end of the world as we know it, the meltdown of biological diversity that our industrial culture has recklessly set in motion." Lee defines Earth First!'s social activists, such as Mike Roselle, as millenarians because they believe in educating and thus converting new activists to saving the earth; and deep ecology purists, such as Dave Foreman, as apocalyptics who believe that activists must focus on preserving as much biodiversity as possible before the inevitable crisis of industrialism."—Publishers Weekly
In the summer of 1980, Dave Foreman, along with four conservationist colleagues, founded the millenarian movement Earth First!. A provocative counterculture that ultimately hoped for the fall of industrial civilization, the movement emerged in response to rapid commercial development of the American wilderness. “The earth should come first” was a doctrine that championed both biocentrism (an emphasis on maintaining the earth’s full complement of species) and biocentric equality (the belief that all species are equal).
Martha Lee was successful in gaining extraordinary access to information about the movement, as well as interviews with its members. While following Earth First’s development and methods, she illustrates the inherent instability and the dangers associated with all millenarian movements. This book will be of interest to environmentalists and those interested in political science and sociology.
Martha F. Lee is assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Windsor, Ontario. She is the author of The Nation of Islam: An American Millenarian Movement.
Series: Religion and Politics
6 x 9, 0 pages