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Below is an article from a British newspaper about environmentalists who are not willing to sit peacefully on the sidelines while the environment is being threatened. Do you agree with their course of action?


Decide whether the following statements are true or false. If the statements are false, correct them so that they become true.

a) Most of us would do anything to save the planet.
b) Greenpeace take direct action to achieve their goals.
c) “Monkey-wrenching” is a campaign to save monkeys from extinction.
d) Greenpeace and “eco-terrorists” are the same.
e) Most governments ignore the action groups.
f) Most “eco-terrorists” have killed another human being in their struggle.



Would you kill someone to save a tree?

Are whales and dolphins more important to you than people?

Nearly all of us are worried about the environment. Almost every day we hear of new ways in which we are destroying the world around us.

For most of us there is a limit to what we actually do about it. Maybe join one of the more popular pressure groups; perhaps protest to our local Member of Parliament or sign a petition.

But for some people that is no longer enough. There is a growing band of green activists who believe direct action is the only way to get results – and that the law need not stand in their way.

They have been named “eco-terrorists”.

Direct action is not a new idea. Greenpeace are possibly the best-known group to use such methods. They have often been filmed using their boats to stop nuclear submarines or sewage-dumping ships from leaving port.

Demonstrations on the cooling towers of power stations have kept them in the public eye. The same thing has happened when they have blocked the pipes which large factories use to pump industrial waste into the sea. But most of their action is within the law.

Eco-terrorists have taken their protest even further. Although they are perhaps not as violent as the name suggests, they believe destroying equipment is all right to stop the people who, they say, are destroying the planet.

In America, one such group concentrates on stopping the cutting down of forests. They use a method called “monkey-wrenching” – spiking trees with nails to destroy the blades used by saw mills. Last year, monkey-wrenching is thought to have caused £12 million worth of damage.

But it isn't just the trees which eco-terrorists focus on. They have been known to sink whaling ships and destroy equipment used to explore for gas and oil. This sort of undercover protest action is more worrying to governments and police forces because it is harder for them to control. So far there have been no known cases where fanatics have actually killed anyone. But there have been casualties among activists.

In 1985, the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior was blown apart by a bomb in a New Zealand harbour, killing one of the crew members. The French government later admitted its agents had carried out the attack. And in America well-known eco-terrorists have received threats of death. Two were lucky to escape when their car was blown up.

Greenpeace campaigners have always said the battle for the planet was a matter of life and death. Now, it seems, life and death could become just another weapon for fanatics on both sides.

(London Early Times)