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Anarchy, war, or revolt? Radical perspectives for climate protection, insurgency and civil disobedience in a low-carbon era


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What radical tactics might those seeking transformational action on climate or environmental sustainability undertake? What options are capable of stopping actors and institutions who already realize their actions and behavior may harm millions, degrade the biosphere, and contaminate the climate, but continue to do so, despite the scientific or moral reasons not to? This paper explores efforts that can vigorously confront apathy and inaction and potentially subvert power relations currently perpetuating climate catastrophe and environmental destruction. We examine the tactics employed over time from civil disobedience and (strict) nonviolence, antiauthoritarian strategies and self-defense as well as guerrilla warfare perspectives, and distill from them options for potential climate action. In doing so, we offer a comprehensive inventory of 20 distinct direct action tactics that, while unsavory in some contexts, offer a chance of creating social change. In doing so, we also draw from the wealth of knowledge regarding protests, social movements, self-organization, and an array of different struggles and strategies.
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Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
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Anarchy, war, or revolt? Radical perspectives for climate protection,
insurgency and civil disobedience in a low-carbon era
Benjamin K. Sovacool
, Alexander Dunlap
Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex Business School, United Kingdom
Center for Energy Technologies, Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, Norway
Green anarchism
Social movements
Social opposition
Guerilla warfare
Covert climate action
Obstructive direct action
What radical tactics might those seeking transformational action on climate or environmental sustainability
undertake? What options are capable of stopping actors and institutions who already realize their actions and
behavior may harm millions, degrade the biosphere, and contaminate the climate, but continue to do so, despite
the scientic or moral reasons not to? This paper explores efforts that can vigorously confront apathy and
inaction and potentially subvert power relations currently perpetuating climate catastrophe and environmental
destruction. We examine the tactics employed over time from civil disobedience and (strict) nonviolence,
antiauthoritarian strategies and self-defense as well as guerrilla warfare perspectives, and distill from them
options for potential climate action. In doing so, we offer a comprehensive inventory of 20 distinct direct action
tactics that, while unsavory in some contexts, offer a chance of creating social change. In doing so, we also draw
from the wealth of knowledge regarding protests, social movements, self-organization, and an array of different
struggles and strategies.
1. Introduction
If we have any true hope of reducing climate catastrophe and pro-
tecting or restoring ecosystems, research needs to examine why and
under which conditions transformative change can occur, and which
policies, institutional practices, governance structures, and legal re-
gimes can facilitate it [13]. Fig. 1, as one example, showcases different
leverage pointsoften discussed within the eld of sustainability. These
leverage points can be utilized to promote sustainability across various
sociotechnical systems, points that range from changing paradigms and
values (near the bottom of the scale) to changing stocks and ows or
parameters such as taxes (near the top of the scale). Such a framework
has been inuential at steering both research and practice towards
trying to promote systems-wide change and transform social parame-
ters, feedback loops, the design of infrastructure and the articulated or
latent intent in individual or even collective behaviour and actions. It
also seeks to differentiate more incremental acts (shallow points) from
more structural and transformative acts (deep points) arranged on a
spectrum of increasing effectiveness.
Other work has explored the general tactics deployed by those
forcing change by opposing different forms of energy infrastructure,
often via grassroots efforts or sustained social movements, even in the
face of violence. The term tactics is meant to capture forms of action
that are deliberately undertaken with the aim of inuencing or coercing
opponents, the general public, and fellow movement activists [5]. In his
classic volumes looking at nonviolent action, Sharpe catalogued 198
different tactics and grouped them into the three broad categories of
protest and persuasion, nonoperation, and direct intervention [68]. Del
Bene and colleagues more recently looked at patterns of resistance to
large dams, and noted an array of mobilization forms including pro-
tests, strikes, complaints, and lawsuits (See Fig. 2) [9]. They noted that
some of these tactics are employed from the bottom up (e.g. farmers,
shers, local organisations) as well as from larger-scale organizations (e.
g., trade unions, political parties, religious groups). Temper and col-
leagues systematically mapped more than 600 cases of resistance
movements to energy projects using a place-based approach to
examine how local acts of social resistance have forced projects to be
delayed, temporarily suspended, or permanently cancelled [10]. Com-
mon tactics here involved spaces of resistancesuch as protests and
blockades but also direct action in terms of sabotage or physical
disruption. Sovacool and colleagues similarly inventoried the tactics
used by opponents of energy infrastructure and catalogued eight core
* Corresponding author at: Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, Jubilee Building, Room 367, Falmer, East Sussex BN1 9SL, United Kingdom.
E-mail address: (B.K. Sovacool).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
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Received 25 July 2021; Received in revised form 12 November 2021; Accepted 13 November 2021
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
archetypes, including rallies and protests, litigation, petitions and acts of
suppression and/or violence [11].
Violent acts can be particularly heinous but also recurrent, with civil
society groups reporting that 200 to 300 environmental activists or
defendersare murdered each year in an attempt to stop their activism
related to logging, mining, large-scale agribusiness, hydroelectric dams
and other infrastructure [12,13]. In the Guangdong province of China
alone, police allegedly shot and killed as many as twenty people for
protesting against lack of compensation for wind energy development
[14]. In the Philippines, military and state forces have been accused of
assassinating both foreign and indigenous environmental defenders
seeking to oppose the construction of new hydroelectric dams [15].
As comprehensive as such a diverse m´
elange of leverage points or
tactics may seem, the inventory above is both incompletefailing to
adequately capture all options availableand insufcient, given that
some options can be used to reinforce the status quo as much as chal-
lenge or transform it. Taking an anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist
perspective, Peter Gelderloos reviewed [26] uprisings from the 1990
Oka Crisisto the more recent Occupy Movement[2]. Gelderloos
challenges the dominate institutional narrative of nonviolence [16,17],
demonstrating the importance of a diversity of tactics and judging a
movements ability to (1) seize spaces for new social relations and (2)
spread awareness and struggle, as well as whether it (3) had elite sup-
port (e.g. insulating movements from police and military repression)
and (4) achieved concrete gains by improving peoples lives.
While Gelderloos and others open up this conversation around direct
action and movement building, we recognize the need to continue and
widen examination to look at a multitude of options capable of stopping
institutions and actors whose efforts are already harming millions,
degrading the biosphere, and contaminating the climate, despite all the
scientic or moral reasons against doing so. We need options that can
vigorously oppose such action; that confront inequality and injustice;
and that can subvert power relations currently perpetuating environ-
mental destitution and driving climate change. The situation demands
that we consider what Galvin calls daring, obstinate actions needed
to halt this rush to destruction,actions that enable people of goodwill
to increase their power so as to work actively to wrest power from
those who control social structure for their own gain at the expense of
others and the climate [18]. Policy action alone seems woefully
insufcient to tackle such a wicked problem.
This paper asks: what would a more complete toolbox of leverage
points and political actions entail, one that takes on board a broader
litany of strategies and tactics for actors? Given the deteriorating state of
our climate and our interconnected ecosystems, we might need to
consider public policy changes alongside a diversity of direct action
tactics, some of them even violent and highly disruptive [2]. Taking in
account criticisms of non-violence[2,19], we offer here three general,
yet overlapping categories, of tactics and strategies (see Table 1): civil
disobedience, anti-authoritarian resistance, and militant, insurgent, and
guerilla action. In doing so, we offer a more comprehensive inventory of
direct action tactics that offer a chance of creating social change,
drawing from diverse disciplinary groundings,or families of academic
perspectives most likely unfamiliar to most energy studies and climate
policy scholars.
In approaching our Review, we situate our politics within an anti-
authoritarian ethos related to anarchism and total liberation ecology.
This is reinforced by classifying particular actions and tactics. These
categories, we fully realize, blur, reinforce and cut across each other (as
Table 1 shows). All three literatures discuss tactics such as demonstra-
tions and protests, all involve different degrees of collective action or
self-organizing (falling broadly into the category of a social move-
ment,which we mention in all three sections), all also pay attention to
the potential use, and misuse, of violent acts. We place literatures here
into distinct boxes only for ease of identication, clustering them where
they t the best within a category of literature. To use an analogy, they
can be thought of as mutually interlinking families of perspectives (all
related to each other in some way) rather than separate, distinct species
of animal.
Although we present an array of different options throughout the
Review, we do not necessarily endorse them. For example, it is at out
irresponsible to advocate assassination and terrorism, even if they can
be viewed as effective in numerous moments for population control (e.g.
authoritarian control) and regime change. This, however, has a different
meaning in ecological struggles. We to leave this reading and choices up
to people to decide if such life threatening activity is worthwhile or
morally justied.
Fig. 1. Twelve intervention or leverage points and four systems characteristics Source: [4], based on original work from Donna Meadows.
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
2. Grappling with key terms: anarchism, social movements, and
Before we get started, it is useful to dene or at least contextualize
some key terms and phrases we use throughout the review, especially
those relating to anarchism, direct action, resistance, social movements,
and violence. This grounds the review within different literatures. As
indicated above, the review maintains an anti-capitalist positionality
and direction, because extracting and proteering from ecosystems and
environmental destruction across liberal and state capitalist economies
has been instrumental in cultivating the current ecological crisis. This
does not completely deny the often theoretical possibilities of some
varieties of capitalism organizing healthy socio-ecological systems, yet
this appears unlikely and equally as impossible of any sort of revolu-
tionary transformation. The same critique applies to the state. While one
can easily envision the state as facilitating socio-ecological trans-
formation in theory (and some practice) [20], progressive state action
across multiple environmental policy domains seems unlikely given the
failures of the 1970s and the clearly insufcient climate change miti-
gation pathways currently being supported by the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change [2125]. Our review is
about struggle and direct action, so it is from this perspective that we
examine the strategies and tactics available outside of capitalism and its
markets and the state. Public policy continues to dominate discussions
but somehow fails to address the root causes of ecological emergency
and climate catastrophe. We therefore prefer to cultivate anarchist anti-
capitalist visions that challenge the roots ecological destruction.
Anarchyat its most basic level refers to a dismissal of authority or
Fig. 2. Tactics of mobilization used to protest against large dams. Source: [9].
Table 1
Summarizing three literatures on direct action tactics and strategies.
Literature Disciplinary
Common tactics
and strict non
Liberalism, Peace
studies, social
history, protest
studies, sociology
Protesting and
taking direct
action against
injustice or
inequality, strict
social movements,
mass arrests,
occupations and sit-
ins, boycotts, labor
strikes, hunger
strikes, trespassing,
blockades, sabotage,
strategies of
and self
political ecology,
neo-Marxism, eco-
hierarchies and/
or the state,
expansive non-
Witnessing and
sabotage, arson,
rioting, looting,
social movements,
Militant action,
warfare and
Security studies,
military strategy,
political science,
Disrupting and
paramilitary action,
social movements
Source: Authors.
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
control. What most separates anarchist thinking from other critical ap-
proaches is its inherent rejection of hierarchy, especially those that are
oppressive, that create elites or leaders, that divide labor, or that subvert
people to the forces of capital [26,27]. Given these proclivities against
centralization and authority, anarchist thinking strongly criticizes the
role of the state and other institutions that create obstacles to progres-
sive action, liberation or social justice, especially when structures of the
state themselves serve as instruments of organized violence, coercive
power, or systematic oppression [28]. Such aspects need not be direct or
physical, they can also be spatial, slow, structural, exceptional, and
symbolic uses of force [27]. According to anarchist thinking, the history
of state formation can be reinterpreted as politically hegemonic,
economically inequitable, and ecologically destructive [29,30]. Au-
thorities and public policy must remediate the existing harms causing
socio-ecological degradationif not irreparable destructionto people
and their ecosystems. These harms accumulate collectively, though
experienced disproportionately, though climate change, extinction and
trajectories towards a true Necrocene, a new era of deathvia mass
extinctions and die-offs [31].
Ecological and green anarchism emerges as an important political
tendency seeking to combat ecological degradation and, implicitly,
climate change. Green anarchists approach systems from the perspective
of totality [32], an attempt at examining the total intersection of
oppressions. For this perspective, democratic actions and democracies
themselves are recognized as (re)producing colonial-state dynamics,
including the reinforcement of centralized economic systems (capitalist
markets) or political structures (governments), or overly technocratic
decision-making processes [33]. As Dunlap warns: The concern to
consider moving forward is whether democracy is overemphasizing the
means over the ends, creating bureaucratic controls unresponsive to
local needs, and together creates a system that always discriminates
against the nonhuman and specic humans racialized and classed within
techno-capitalist society[34].
Complementing green anarchism is anarchist political ecology [35].
Responding to liberation ecologies[36], anarchist political ecology
replies with total liberation ecology, stressing the need to challenge
anthropocentric prejudices and to understand the organizational and
infrastructural impacts of capitalism on nonhumans as well [37].
Anarchist political ecology endorses a research agenda seeking to un-
derstand (and consequently counter) state violence and environmental
conicts by dissecting the mechanisms of state hegemony within aca-
demic and political imaginations. This includes rethinking the re-
lationships between state action and extraction, forms of political
resistance, and genocidal and ecocidal processes. As a remedy, anar-
chism generally supports other forms of autonomist, voluntary, or
cooperative action, some of which entails unmediated self-defense.
In doing so, an anarchist approach simultaneously achieves
epistemic, analytical, and intersectional goals. Epistemically, it ac-
knowledges that states and governments are socially co-constructed,
reinforce prejudice (e.g. patriarchy, racism, sexism, speciesism) and
are ecologically degrading [38]. Analytically, it suggests not taking over
existing means of social relations or modes of production, but instead
rejecting entirely capitalism and modern governmentality. As
mentioned already, the focus on totalityrecognizes the intersectional
nature of economic, political, psychological, ideological, military, and
other forms of oppression, this requiring total decolonization[39].
Included in this frame of totality is how other patterns of hegemony
including patriarchy (challenged by eco-feminism) or racism (chal-
lenged by critical race theories and critiques of whiteness) coalesce with
state and market structures.
More pragmatically, green anarchism places ecological issues at its
core, including land defense, animal liberation (anti-speciesism,
veganism) and appreciation for Indigenous cultures and knowledge.
Appreciation, of course, does not mean one must uncritically adopt
Indigenous perspectives, especially given that some can be hierarchal,
patriarchal, or environmentally destructive themselves. One must also
be careful not to recolonize Indigenous peoples by coopting them to
ones worldviews without engaging them, or to elevate their culture to
some level of sublimity where Indigenous cultures are eroticized, fe-
tishized, or considered omnipotent [40].
Fully noting that there is an exhaustive amount of positions, theories,
and disagreements between anarchist tendencies [28], three of its
themes are most relevant to climate change and decarbonization:
voluntary cooperation, mutual aid, and direct action. Anarchism in
general, but green anarchism with its ecological focus in particular,
supports voluntary cooperation, encouraging that individuals determine
their own levels of commitment and struggle, their own degrees of
resistance to coercive authority. Green anarchism supports an expansive
(human and nonhuman) mutual aid, the reciprocal and often elective
exchange of resources and services for mutual benet. This includes
recognizing the way mutual aid transcends species, operating on various
levels across ecosystems and how industrial humans need to strengthen
their connection with nonhumans (e.g. animals, rivers, trees and non-
human life) [35]. Green anarchists support direct action, unmediated
attempts through self-organization that attack structures of domination
damaging human and nonhuman life. Such direct action tactics may fall
on a spectrum of being non-violent,but differ from dialogue or dis-
cussion in that they do not rely solely on persuading an opponent, nor do
they assume that all actors in a struggle are inherently motivated by
achieving good[6]. Resistanceis another closely aligned term, and
it implies reaction, while attack can be more preemptive and takes
initiative and is self-determined [33].
A related body of research frames collective action and discusses the
dynamics of social movements,dened by Tarrow as collective
challenges [to authority], based on common purposes and social soli-
darities, in sustained interaction with elites, opponents, and authorities
[41]. Social movements distinguish themselves from other forms of
collective behavior because they are organized, involving numerous
individuals; they are deliberate, with careful planning and strategizing;
and they are enduring, often lasting for years or even decades [42]. Such
movements often utilize repertories of contentionto emphasize a
uidity and dynamism to tactics. Protests are similar to a piece of music
or a dance, with some degree of structure or agreement reached be-
forehand (i.e., preparation and training) but also a fair degree of
improvision (i.e., reacting to things on the ground as they unfold) [43].
The social movements literature often connects to previous organized
efforts including the abolition of slavery [44], civil rights [45,46],
reproductive rights and family planning [47], and even temperance (the
prohibition of alcohol) [48]. Social movement tactics may also need to
evolve in response to countermovement tactics undertaken by the police
or the state, creating a coevolution of tactics and counter-tactics [5].
Tarrow termed such tactics modularto highlight the way in which
they can be transferred across different movements, but also in that most
tactics fall across a spectrum of modularity of conventional, disruptive,
or violent [49].
This brings us to our nal theme of violence. To be clear, violence is
morally loaded and selective term and our categorization attempts to
reect these complexities [2,50]. To some, even owning property can be
perceived as a form of domination and violence. Following Springer, we
do not consider self-defense a form of violence, as there is no impetus
for coercion or domination but rather a desire for self-preservationand,
in the matter of land defense, protecting habitats and ecosystems.
Violence,then, refers to unequal power relationsoften dependent on
anthropocentrism, racism, classism and a myriad of other discrim-
inationsthat involves some element of coercion and/or domination
over living creatures that either cause direct and immediately visible
physical injury or indirect and slow forms of harm [51]. This categori-
zation of violence makes a distinction between property and sentient
life, self-defense and tactical and strategic deployment of coercive
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
3. Civil disobedience and (strict) non-violence
Our rst body of literature on direct action tactics refers to civil
disobedience and non-violence. This literature bears some resemblance
to anarchist thought, especially around notions of direct action and
resistance, but it has a different historical trajectory. Civil disobedience
refers most generally to a public, nonviolent, conscientious yet political
act, contrary to law, carried out to communicate opposition to law and
policy of government[52]. Acts of civil disobedience can both seek to
enhance and support, or at times subvert and undermine, the underlying
principles of democracy and governance. This led the philosopher Jür-
gen Habermas to classify those acting for civil disobedience as
ambivalent dissidents [53], even though he also defended civil dis-
obedience as a guardian of legitimacyin democratic societies [54].
Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 precisely for his
use of civil disobedience in the form of nonviolent direct action. As
King himself noted, in any nonviolent campaign there are four basic
steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist;
negotiation; self-purication; and direct action[55]. These steps, King
believed, enabled protestors to negotiate better concessions, demon-
strate via boycotts, protest via marches, and resist, even with their
physical bodies, in a nonviolent way. Sharpe also believed (in his
theorizing on direct nonviolent action) that such efforts were attuned to
achieving the conversion of opponents, the accommodation of demands,
or the exhaustion of resources of opponents [8].
In North America, civil disobedience has a strong connection to the
18th century poet, philosopher, and essayist Henry David Thoreau, who
delivered a famous lecture entitled resistance to civil government
when he refused to pay a poll tax to express his opposition to a war
against Mexico being fought by the United States [56]. Since that time,
civil disobedience tactics have become woven into a broader fabric of
acts of dissent designed to both increase participation in civil society and
protest the actions of government. Civil disobedience was an important
and widespread tacticused by those opposing the Vietnam War in the
1960s, with one particular event in 1968 leading to the 20,000 people
marching on Washington, DC to interfere with automobile trafc,
resulting in massive congestion and the largest mass arrestin the
history of the country when 14,000 of the protesters were jailed [57].
The rst tactic is indeed demonstrations and rallies, terms that refer to
the organization of large public gatherings of people, most frequently in
a rally, a walk, a protest, or a march. This relates to a strict under-
standing of non-violence (that is, not even involving sabotage), but it
can quickly surpass it. Demonstrations can be organized for one day or
over hundreds of days, ranging from climate camps and counter-
demonstrations to elite meetings (or even more permanent forms of
resistance discussed elsewhere in this Review). Examples of effective,
large-scale rallies in the past include those related to the anti-apartheid
movements of the 1980s, which helped to convince universities and
other organizations to sever ties with rms that invested in South Africa.
The anti-sweatshop movement in the 1990s is another instance, which
put pressure on clothing manufacturers to assume responsibility for
working conditions by generating negative publicity for rms. Another
classic example is the womens suffrage movement at the turn of the last
century, which employed mass rallies and marchesalongside other
tacticsto persuade the public that denying womens right to vote was
inconsistent with democratic principles [58].
In each case, these rallies demonstrated mass support behind the idea
for social change, disrupting normal operations to the point of gener-
ating symbolically charged appeals that forced society to acknowledge
the issues being raised. Demonstrations have been instrumental to
highlight issues of patriarchy, white supremacy, and structural and po-
litical violence. The anti/alter-Globalization Movement is a manifesta-
tion of organizing mass demonstrations with strict non-violence intent,
demonstrations that shut downlarge international conferences by
elites (e.g. the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund,
the Group of Seven [G7], or the Group of 20 [G20]) [59]. This extends to
anti-war organizing in 2003, but more recently the Youth Climate
marches inspired by Greta Thunberg.
Challenging the strict non-violence ethos of these examples, how-
ever, is acknowledging the wider context of political struggle that in
many of these cases included action groups, acts of sabotage and
vandalism [2]. More still, while demonstrations are a nonviolent tactic,
they can quicklydepending on the actions of authoritiesturn to
widespread vandalism, rioting and looting [60]. The latter often
occurred related to civil rights, racial discrimination, police violence
and challenging the structure of white supremacy. This shows how
demonstrations often combine or begin with civil disobedience actions
(more on these is presented in Section 3) but can spread or escalate to
include property damage against corporate property or self-defense
against police that turn into riots (more on these in Section 4).
Recently, nonviolence and civil disobedience tactics been applied to
environmental and climate issues with the rise of new social movements.
These new social movements tend to be more recurrent than a single
demonstration or event, and recent examples include Extinction
Rebellion, the young peoples movement Fridays for the Future, and the
youth led Sunrise Movement in the United States, some of which are
featured in Fig. 3. These actors often deploy the tactic of demonstrations
and protests, just over a more sustained period of time [61,62]. Never-
theless, the commitment and potency of these younger movements are
still yet to be fully demonstrated.
While sometimes an aftereffect of demonstrations or civil disobedi-
ence actions, mass arrests can be identied as a second tactic. During the
North American civil rights protests of the 1960s, such mass arrests were
a popular tactic used with the intention of being nancially and legally
burdensome for racist cities and state governments [63]. Indeed, the
specic numbers of some of these mass arrests of this era are excep-
tional: the Birmingham confrontation resulted in the arrest of at least
14,700 protestors; more than 2,600 demonstrators were jailed at the
Selma protests [64]. This extends to Black Liberationists expressing an
ecological conscious, such as MOVE (and others) seeking autonomy and
self-sufciency [65,66]. Other examples include civil disobedience
campaigns against the Gulf War of the 1990s, various abortion clinics
across the country, and contemporary immigrant rights activists in the
2010s, all which resulted in arrests [2,67]. The anti-nuclear movement
also saw large arrests of its members at the Seabrook Nuclear Power
Plant in New Hampshire (see Fig. 4) and the Nuclear Test Site near Las
Vegas, Nevada. The arrests at Seabrook occurred even though the pro-
testors were non-violent and only sought to obstruct entry to the site by
construction crew; they were still attacked by state police and members
of the national guard. Their protests were still successful in delaying the
project and costing the nuclear power operator $750,000 [68]. A more
recent example would be the arrest of 77 protesters in the United
Kingdom who were jailed for blocking motorways with their bodies,
causing widespread trafc jams and disruption throughout England in
2021 [69]. These protestors were all part of a movement called Insulate
Britain,motivated to call attention to the perceived inadequacy of
government efforts to promote energy efciency in buildings or retrot
and insulate social housing blocks.
A third, closely overlapping tactic is occupation or sit-ins, physically
interfering with or inhabiting a space such as a building, train station,
shopping center, square, event or park as an act of protest [70,71]. Many
of these tactics became famous during the 1960s civil rights movement
in the United States, which utilized sit-ins, freedom rides, freedom
songs, and voter registration drives to convince policymakers to enact
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and numerous other civil rights measures
that granted protections, halted desegregation, and even legalized
interracial marriages by 1967 [7274]. The sit-inwhen activists enter
a public space or business and remain seated until they are evicted by
force (like mass arrests) or until their conditions are metbecame world
famous as a collective action technique [41]. XR and Direct Action
Everywhere, which conduct mass raiding of factory farms, serve as
recent and extended examples of these techniques. Martin Luther King
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
Fig. 3. Contours of public protest and demonstrations for climate change action via new social movements in Chile, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany. A).
Fridays for the Future Protest in Santiago, Chile, 2019, B). Fridays for the Future protest in Sapmi, Sweden, June 2021, C). Extinction Rebellion poster near Balham
Station, London, 2020 D). Extinction Rebellion Poster in Potsdam, Germany 2019, E). Fridays for the Future climate protests outside Westminster, London, 2019, F).
A Sunrise Movement demonstration in Washington, DC, United States, 2019, Source: All photographs compiled by the authors.
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
Jr. justied the use of these tactics, as compared to traditional negoti-
ation and debate, by arguing that nonviolent direct action seeks to
create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has
constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so
to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored[55]. Occupa-
tions or sit-ins can be applied to other settings ofces, homes of investors
or even forests. In the 1970s and 1980s various social movements un-
dertook acts of occupation or sit-ins, including Earth First! protecting
old-growth forests or, in the 1980s and 1990s, groups such as ACT-UP
and the AIDS movement interrupting live news casts to emphasize the
urgency of that crisis.
A fourth, closely linked technique is for a group to physically block or
lock-on, with their bodies, to ofce entrances, facilities, buildings or
equipment. Chaining oneself to vehicles, equipment or lying on the road
with lock-onsis a foundational ecological civil disobedience practice,
which extends to climbing on equipment, tree-sitting(e.g. chaining
yourself to trees) and blocking access roads to create a situation in which
protesters face high personal risk if construction or work proceeds. Just
as military occupation is intended to subdue or conquer a foreign
country, a protest occupation is meant to resist the status quo physically
or symbolically and to press for change in policy. Earth First! has been
employing lock-ons, tree sitting and blockades in defense of forests
across the United States [75]. The Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty
(SHAC) campaign was effective employing acts of disruption and
occupation of corporate ofces and the houses of shareholders (e.g.
house demos), which combined with property damage and acts of
sabotage [76]. Climate camps by groups like Ende Gel¨
ande and Code
Rood have organized mass demonstrations against coal mining plants
and hydrocarbon industries, which block with their bodies and lock-
onwith chains and locks to coal mining equipment. More still, we are
seeing blockades, lock-ons and tree-sitting taking place around the Line
3 oil pipeline coming from the Alberta tar sands and across the state of
Minnesota in the United States [77].
A fth tactic is boycotts, where consumers voluntary abstain or refuse
to use, purchase, or deal with an organization or a product. It was the
Montgomery Bus Boycott (led by Rosa Parks in December 1, 1955) that
famously led to the Supreme Court declaring segregated busing in Ala-
bama unconstitutional in 1956 in the United States. This boycott in
particular showed that large numbers of African Americans could be
mobilized to protest racial inequality, and that boycotts could be sus-
tained (it lasted more than a year) [64]. The idea was that the political
power structure would respond to threats and challenges to the eco-
nomic power structure in ways that would benet the movement. Boy-
cotts today can involve consumers deciding not to purchase some
collection of productswith a recent example being supermarket
shoppers in the United Kingdom boycotting brands that they associated
with harsh working conditions, environmental pollution and the overuse
of packaging [78]. Farmers have also boycotted particular fueling sta-
tions in an act of protest against increases in taxes on the price of petrol/
gasoline [79]. In North America, more than 1,500 restaurants organized
a boycott of unsustainable sources of sh coming from the Southern
Ocean near Antarctica, resulting in a 40% drop in demand for Patago-
nian Toothsh/Chilean Sea Bass in one year [80]. The furniture com-
pany Harvey Norman was also boycotted over their links to logging and
deforestation (see Fig. 5). Boycotts have been called a crucial weapon
of civil disobedience because when well organized they can be highly
effective at hurting private sector actors and also inducing effective
change, with prominent examples over the past decade including the
prevention, or slowing, of deforestation, changes in practices among
timber, oil palm, soy, and seafood corporations, and successful landmark
peace deals with indigenous peoples [81].
A sixth tactic is hacktivism or electronic civil disobedience, the use of
computers or computerized activism to attack digital or cyber infra-
structure. One survey identied a surprising variety of actions in this
space ranging from grassroots infowar (spreading knowledge or propa-
ganda on the internet), politicized hacking or net politics (adding po-
litical messages to government or ofcial websites), and virtual
blockades or sit-ins (preventing an organization from using information
and communications technology or the internet) [82]. Doxing or doxx-
ing has also emerged as a more recent tool for publicly revealing pre-
viously private personal information about an individual or
organization, usually on the Internet.
Hacktivism has its roots in the early 1990s when the world wide web
was gaining prominence, with a general theory even espoused by the
Critical Art Ensemble (CAE). Drawing on the work of critical scholars
such as Hakim Bey, Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari [83,84], the CAE
argued that just as hyper-capitalism has become more mobile, dispersed,
and electronic, so too must resistance via digital and electronic means.
This can include the clogging or actual rupture of ber optic lines or
internet servers, massive anonymous email assaults, and interference
with websites [57]. Actors championing these tactics to achieve sus-
tainability outcomes (such as more sustainable farming practices, or
low-carbon infrastructures) have included the Anonymous Digital Coa-
lition, Electronic Disturbance Theater, and FloodNet.
A seventh tactic is strikes, commonly associated with labour strikes or
the organized refusal to work. While having ancient precursors, labour
strikes emerged as a recognizable political tactic around the time of the
industrial revolution when industry depended on large amounts of
people to operate machinery. Refusing to work and ceasing operations
directly impacts economic and capitalist productivity, becoming a
formidable method of addressing exploitive labor conditions [85]. Yet
strikes take many forms. They can be highly organized through union
leadership to negotiate pay, rights and benets. Wild Catstrikes are
those taken up independently of union leadership by workers, adopting
a more autonomousuncontrollablequality, which can be general-
ized across (e.g. General Strikes). Wild Cat strikes, and the attempts to
break them by police and hired personnel, can germinate into larger
theatres of class conict, extending to self-defence activities (which we
will explore more in Section 4) [86]. Strikes can even extend past
Fig. 4. Members of the Clamshell Alliance and Red Clams organized a rally
only to be attacked by hoses, mace, pepper gas and dogs before being arrested
at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, 1980, Source: Compiled by the authors,
U.S. Department of Energy Photographic Archive.
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
conventionally conceived labour to under acknowledged household and
reproductive labour, such as feminist refusals to have their bodies
treated as commodities and factories to produce workers and soldiers for
industry and war [87]. Human strikes,inspired by feminist struggles,
are perhaps the most radical form of this tactic, as it embodies striking
within every facet of life in favour of articulating joy and freedom [88].
The human strike, taken to one of its extreme facets, is the older
hunger strike. This tactic employs starving oneselfrefusing food and
sometimes waterto demonstrate rejection of an issue or achieve a
policy goal. This tactic demonstrates resolve and determination, but
ultimately relies on the conscience and guilt of offending individuals or
institutions. Hunger strikes are a reoccurring tactic in prison, repre-
senting one of the few means there to protest treatment, police or gov-
ernment policies, and/or to exercise rights. Many guerrilla ghters in
prison engage in hunger strikes, among other activities, to advance a
particular struggle, issue or immediate situation [89]. The Provisional
Irish Republican Armys (IRA) Bobby Sands is a famous example of this,
which eventually ended in his death [90]. Hunger strikes can take the
form of public protest as well. People, likewise, can organize hunger
strikes publicly in front of government buildings, take for example in
Peru were people engage in hunger strikes against mines [91] or Sami
hunger strikes against dams [92] in Norway. Hunger strikes can also
extend to dirty protests,exemplied by IRA prisoners who protested
poor treatment, refusing to take showers, wash their hands and even-
tually would defecate by their doors and poor urine into the prison
hallways [93].
As the tactics above illustrate, civil disobedience and non-violent
protest tactics all seek to demonstrate commitment and distress as a
means for authorities and people to change their minds. Many of these
tactics, however, rely on basic human rights and care taken by author-
ities. These tactics can still be applied in numerous ways and in different
situations, yet this overview offers a strong precursor to examine other
forms of non-violet action and self-defence in the next section.
4. Anti-authoritarian strategies of resistance and self defense
Our second body of evidence on tactics comes from the emergent
literature on anti-authoritarian struggles. While various political ten-
dencies (e.g. anarchist, Marxist, liberal and conservative) have
employed the tactics below, we chose to emphasize anarchism to stress
the anti-authoritarian and horizontal forms employed within these tac-
tics referenced [26]. Indigenous, anti-state and other uses of autonomist
Marxism are equally prevalent in the struggles mentioned. Likewise,
much of this work comes from scholarship on semi-autonomous zones
blocking megaprojects or pipelines [94], or indigenous groups and
campesinos defending their lands against extractive encroachment
[91,95,96]. There, Indigenous (decolonial) and anarchist objecti-
vessuch as terminating socio-ecologically destructive projects and
self-determinationrequire a diversity of tactics, and an appreciation
for non-native and non-white experiences [97,98]. As Gelderloos re-
minds us, the most effective social uprisings since the end of the Cold
War can be characterized as using a diversity of methods, whereas the
exclusively peaceful moments have resulted in disappointment,at least
by anarchist standards [99].
We utilize the term self-defenseto describe actions taken by people
to defend themselves against immediate individual threats, but also
institutional and systemic threats. The latter can result in attempts to
protect livelihoods, ecosystems, social fabrics and cultural practices
against state, infrastructural and police-military impositions. Infra-
structural impositionrefers to forms of organization, technologies and
megaproject schemes that seek to enclose plantations and forests
branded as conservation[100]. This results in a more expansive un-
derstanding of non-violence, recognizing the validity of vandalism,
sabotage and property destruction. As Springer reminds us, a nonvio-
lent position does not forego resistance and self-defense[101]. Human
and nonhuman is life is thereby valued over property and destructive
business practices.
The rst tactic, witnessing and watching, exhibits how non-violence
Fig. 5. A protest of the Harvey Norman furniture retailer led to both boycott of their stores in the United States and changes in their corporate practices Source: [81].
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
and self-defense overlap. This technique involves observing, often
passively and even surreptitiously, acts of violence or domination [102].
As Fig. 6 depicts, such acts (in the green circle) entail visual practices
that can monitor and protect green spaces, witness instances of brutality,
disseminate images to counter hegemonic practices, or represent alter-
nate visions for social change. The idea is that such passive observation
can inspire direct action in others, or at least document acts of injustice
or destruction by placing them in the historical record. This tactic bears
some similarity to that of the Black Panther Party, founded in 1966,
which employed armed citizens patrols to watch the police (cop-
watching) and monitor the behavior of authorities [103]. Since then,
Cop Watching has spread, becoming an intentional and practiced
pastime in many major cities across the United States, if not many other
parts of the world. Such acts could be extended to Forest Watchingor
even Carbon Emissions Watching.
The second tactic is delegitimation, which Gordon refers to as anar-
chist interventions in public discourse, verbal or symbolic, whose mes-
sage is to deny the basic legitimacy of dominant social institutions and
eat away at the premises of representative politics, class society, patri-
archy and so on[104]. Acts of delegitimation are unlike acts of protest,
which tend to be directed at specic policies or people, and instead
target the very existence of those institutions in the rst place. Acts of
delegitimation aim to undercut the legitimacy of state institutions with
information that may reveal inconsistency or hypocrisy, harmful effects,
or severe tradeoffs with commitments to welfare, education, or health.
Delegitimation can also utilize counter-expertise to shape populist or
political coalitions, with the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines in
the Great Plains region of North America demonstrating how environ-
mentalists, landowners, and grassroots organizers can position them-
selves as experts [105]. Delegitimation can lastly employ brandalism
or subvertising,where activists subvert, alter, or spoof corporate icons
or advertising campaigns to their own end [106,107]. Subvertising
permits a rebellion against the visual assault of media giants and
advertising moguls who have a stranglehold over messages and meaning
in our public spaces,and it can rely on parodies and other message-
changing or obscuring alterations to convey messages [108].
Advertising remains a mechanism to enforce socio-ecological catastro-
phe, which is why Brandalism [109], ahead of the United Nations
COP21, installed over 600 posters in bus stops across Paris protesting
consumerism, fossil fuel dependency and climate change.
Building from the discussion of demonstrations in Section 3, we
might, thirdly, highlight the importance of unpermitted demonstrations or
marches. Nonviolent protests, depending on the context, often collabo-
rate with authorities by registering to obtain a permit and/or permission
from cities to hold large-scale demonstrations. As mentioned above,
these demonstrations can still turn riotous. Unpermitted demonstra-
tions, on the other hand, can be either spontaneous or organized, but
both consciously reject state legitimacy and control of demonstrations.
According to this view, ling permits and announcing demonstrations
not only reinforces state power, but also allows police advanced warning
and preparation time to manage disruptions. Unpermitted demonstra-
tions are self-organized and, consequently, often dubbed as illegal
marches that usually result in confrontations with police, vandalism and
looting. Anarchists are known for organizing these types of marches, as
was common in the western United States anti-police organizing [2].
This activity, however, is in no way restricted to anarchists but are
common responses to injustice, most notably police brutality and
murder. From the 1992 Los Angeles riots, banlieues uprisings in France
(2005), the 2008 Greek Insurrection, the 2011 English Riots, Yellow
Vest (gilets jaunes, 20182020) riots in France and the anti-police up-
risings in the United States in Ferguson (2014), Baltimore (2015) and
George Floyd uprisings (2020), all have been unpermitted demonstra-
tions that expressed built up social discontent [60,110]. This list is by no
means exhaustive, and remains Euro-American-centric, yet injustice and
spontaneous and combative community action are a common global
response to contested mining and infrastructure projects. Important,
however, is how unpermitted demonstrations can be organized or
spontaneous, and take on various intensities, which have frequently
turned into widespread social upheaval.
A fourth set of tactics are trespassing, blockading, eco-sabotage or
ecotage (or Monkey Wrenching), where protestors intrude upon a
particular space with the intent of destroying harmful operations,
Fig. 6. Witnessing and watching as acts of resistance against hegemonic power, Source: [102].
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
practices, or technologies. Malm terms this intelligent sabotage[111]
and writes about how the strategic acceptance of property destruction
has been the only route for revolutionary change.Examples include
protestors trespassing into construction zones to destroy bulldozers or
buildings being perceived as unsustainable; blocking roads or trafc on
highways or around controversial sites; breaking into power plants to
disrupt and destroy fossil-fuelled generators or transformers; or tres-
passing into automobile dealerships to destroy or vandalize Suburban
Utility Vehicles (SUVs) with low fuel-economy. These tactics also
encompass interfering with logging practices by destroying camps,
machinerysuch as log loaders and trucksor spiking trees and even
removing fuel for chainsaws [112]. The anti-nuclear movement in
Europe resorted to a diversity of tactics such as occupying and vandal-
izing construction sites, mass demonstrations with property damage and
arson [113]. In Germany alone [123], high-tension power towers were
knocked down [114], and a comparable number of high-tension power
lines were sabotaged in Italy as an act against nuclear power and other
destructive industries in the 1980s [115]. In the Philippines, Communist
New Peoples Army rebels raided a state-owned plantation used for the
manufacturing of biofuels from jatropha on Negros Island, where they
torched equipment and stopped workers from hauling lumber [14].
The collective benets of blockades are extolled in the literature,
given that they can simultaneously physically block an operation,
directly slowing or stopping harm; increase cost and resources, given
that they create expense and inconvenience for the actors involved; and
provide a visual focus for media coverage. There are even manuals
giving instructions on how to blockade (see Fig. 7) including Earth
First!s Direct Action Manual in the United States [116], Road AlertsTop
Tips for Wrecking Roadbuilding [117] and the North East Forest Alliances
Intercontinental Deluxe Guide to Blockading in Australia [118]. The earlier
Eco-Defense Manual (also in Fig. 7) describes how to carry out acts of
sabotage such as disabling trucks, billboards, tree spiking, roads, power
lines, and so on. The challenge with blockades, or at least long-term (as
opposed to hit and run) blockades, is holding off state invasion, arrest
and remaining anonymous. The July 1990 Mohawk blockade on Kane-
satake territory in Oka, Quebec, remains a famous example, which las-
ted 78 days with repeated confrontations with police and the military
McIntyre has compiled an extensive timeline of environmental
blockading covering 25 years and countries as diverse as Australia,
Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, India, Malaysia, Nicaragua,
Solomon Islands, the United Kingdom and United States [119]. Exam-
ples include:
Logging: groups that occupy trees, hug trees, or tree-sit to prevent
deforestation or the degradation of forest habitats;
Digging: creating trenches, pits, or other earthen obstacles that
interfere with the construction of roads or buildings;
Flooding: diverting rivers, waters, streams, or even drinking water to
interfere with proposed projects or infrastructure;
Removing: stealing or removing fuel, equipment, or materials (e.g.
survey stakes) to hinder project planning or construction;
Disrupting roads: using vehicles, large objects, or even bicycles to
interfere with trafc and/or make roads impassable.
The actions in this list include setting up protest camps to disrupt
logging, clearing, and mining; the use of barricades, minor sabotage and
self-defensive violence; and even the destruction of mining and logging
encampments, roads, and bridges, and armed removals and physical
attacks on workers.
Some of these subversive tactics are already employed and imagined
in the space of climate action. As just a single example (among many we
could have chosen), in the United Kingdom, a saboteur in 2008 breached
the most heavily guarded power station in the country (the Kingsnorth
station in Kent) when they ruined one of the plants 500 MW turbines
and left a homemade poster protesting coal [120]. That single act forced
the coal- and oil-red facility to suspend electricity generation for four
hours and caused greenhouse gas emissions over the entire country to
temporarily drop by two percent.
Fiction has been instrumental in cultivating imaginations and artic-
ulating critique against ecological destruction. Edward Abbys 1975 The
Money Wrench Gang gave way to ideas of monkey wrenchingor
ecotage, inspiring individual action, Earth First! and, later, Earth
Liberation Front groups. The novel even inspired some 27,100 recorded
incidents of ecotage, Micheal Loadenthal documented, over a 38-year
period, whereby 98 percent of attacks target property (i.e., not
human beings), and 99.7 percent cause no injury[121]. Notably, such
individual ecotage need not always harm individuals or utilize violent
The fth tactic is the building of permanent resistance, which (as the
name implies) is more lasting, and in many ways most similar to the
tactic of sustained social movements introduced in Section 3. The
permanentaspect of resistance indicates a relational determination
that transcends Indigenous, autonomist and anarchist subjectivities.
Permanent resistance may differ from a social movement whenever
there is further individual or collective escalation into a more sustained,
durable conict with an institution, project or political system.
Fig. 7. Prominent manuals for eco-sabotageand environmental blockading, Source: Authors.
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
Permanent conict, Alfredo Bonanno reminds us, can involve groups
with the characteristic of attacking the reality in which they nd
themselves without waiting for orders from anywhere else[122].
Permanent conict can frequently be rooted rmly in autonomist action
and aspirations, rejecting unmediated action by political parties and
unions, and instead is focused on attacking and stopping said industry,
infrastructure and/or institutions. Individually this might take the form
of sabotage actions, artistic vandalism or property destruction and
various modalities of attack. Attacks can also expand to collective
afnity groupswho remain either nameless or identify as a group only,
such as the Animal Liberation Front, Earth Liberation Front or Informal
Anarchist Federation action groups [123].
Permanent conict, it is important to remember, can arise from a
reaction to armed specialists, such as the Red Army Faction (RAF),
Basque Homeland and Liberty (ETA) and Red Brigades, but to avoid
dogmatic (Marxian) ideologies, to resist a hierarchical organization (or
habits of the solider) and to embrace a tactical impasse to create spaces
for wider militant participation [124,125]. This distinguishes (1) hier-
archical militant organizations and action groups (e.g. RAF, RB, ETA);
from (2) merely anti-authoritarian groups (e.g., Revolutionary Cell (RZ)
and feminist Rota Zora groups in Germany) [113]; and (3) a nal
category of militant mass action efforts such as Black Bloc tactics (e.g.
dressing anonymously in all black to vandalize objects of protest) which
take place at demonstrations and uprisings [125]. Between these vary-
ing protest tactics and categories of action groups there are different
intensities of commitment. What makes these actions anarchist and
autonomist are strenuous efforts not to harm human and nonhuman life,
unless being attacked or threated, which includes combating police,
military and mercenary attacks. Although these acts all fall under the
category of permanent resistance, the particular participation of various
elements such as anarchists, autonomists, hippies, ravers, drug dealers,
and so on varies considerably [126].
There are numerous ways to articulate long-term, committed and
concerted permanent resistance. Already mentioned were action groups
like the Revolutionary Cell (RZ), Earth Liberation Front and the Informal
Anarchist Federation (FAI), but more collective and movement oriented
examples are autonomist land occupations inspired by Indigenous anti-
colonial actions such as the Zapatistas [127] and hundreds of other
Indigenous and campesino groups documented in the Environmental
Justice Atlas [128].
Three European examples are the NoTAV (No to the High-Speed
Train), The Anti-High-Tensions (Molt Alta Tensi´
o, MAT) and ZAD
(Zone-to-Defend) Movements in Italy, Spain and France [129]. Going on
since the mid-1990s, NoTAV has created multiple protest sites (presidi)
and large-scale demonstrations across the Susa Valley that celebrate
anti-capitalist communality, offer alternatives, and support local sus-
tainable trades and modes of transport [130]. Similarly, the Anti-High-
Tensions (Molt Alta Tensi´
o, MAT) Power Line struggle in Catalonia,
Spain, represents a diverse collection of actors including various civil-
society groups, supportive politicians and community members who
have been protesting against the domination of Catalonia by Spanish
energy monopolies and their infrastructures for almost two decades
now. This movement also included mass demonstrations, forest occu-
pations to block power lines, civil disobedience and countless sabotage
actions [131]. In France, ZADs (Zones to Defend) refer to inhabited areas
designed to blockade forthcoming development projects. Notre-Dames-
Des-Landes (NDDL) represents a ZAD that has been ghting a new mega-
airport outside Nantes for over a decade. The ZAD movement articulates
communal ways of living with their ecosystems, meanwhile organizing
to defend them against police-military and company incursions. Despite
internal turmoil, the NDDL ZAD eventually defeated the airport project
in 2019 and, equally important, the ZAD concept has spread all over
France as a way of living in permanent resistance against destructive
growth-oriented development projects [127].
These three examples employed a diverse range of tactics, reecting
cultural specicities and, implicitly, joining the global struggle to defend
land and territory for coercive infrastructural takeover and expansion.
Autonomist land defense often combines the diversity of tactics of social
movements, but become practical and lived collective forces of perma-
nent resistance.
5. Militant action, guerilla warfare and insurgency
A nal class of techniques, the most controversial, involve the use of
violence, terrorist tactics or guerilla techniques for climate protection.
These draw from historical experiences such as the Revolutionary War in
the United States (April 1775 to September 1783), the birth of guerrilla
warfare in Europe, the Chinese Communist Revolution (1945 to 1949),
and anti-colonial warfare over the previous half century [132]. Indeed,
some social movements scholars have argued that violent social move-
ments are more likely to achieve their goalsthan nonviolent ones [58].
Gamson studied American social movements in the 19th and 20th cen-
turies, and found that those using violence were able to draw more
attention to their goals, impose greater costs on incumbent actors, and
ultimately reach their objectives more quickly compared to movements
using only non-violent tactics [133]. Displacement and group faction-
alism are also major predictors of a protest groups success [134].
McAdam hypothesized that the tactics of resistance often evolve from
violent acts to non-violent ones [135]. This may not surprise readers
already aware of the way police, military, paramilitary and mercenary
institutions organize, operate and employ counterinsurgency softand
hardstrategies and tactics [27,136138].
Voicing discontent, challenging established laws, printing pamphlets
and newspaper articles, and organizing mass protests are similar to some
of the tactics already described in the sections on resistance, or self-
defense and disobedience (see Sections 3 and 4). However, these can
escalate into mass meetings, petition signings, tea protests, customs and
tax evasion, boycotts, and committees of correspondence to more overt
acts of dissidence [139]. The military, in fact, recognize insurgency as
beginning with movement organizing and non-violence before
becoming violent. General Brigadier Kitson conceived insurgency in
three stages: The Preparatory Period, Non-Violence and In-
Many guerilla or insurgent tactics overlap with earlier protest tactics
but may differ in their form of organization, and intensity of the damage
inicted. The American Revolution offers a useful taxonomy of tactics,
The destruction of merchandise or property via bonres, physical
sabotage, arson, or theft (especially the famous Tea Partiesacross
Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston, where English tea
was destroyed or dumped), or the burning of homes where British tax
collectors or governors resided;
The strategic use of crowds and organized or mass riots, massive
outdoor gatherings organized to incite military-civilian violence that
then furthered the cause and tarnished the reputation of the British
(the sheer number of these are staggering, including the Knowles
Riot of 1747, Stamp Act Riots of 1765, the Liberty riot of 1768, the
Boston Massacre of 1770 and the Boston Tea Party of 1773);
The creation of terrorist/freedom ghting cells such as the Sons of
Liberty (17651776), who carried out distributed acts of resistance
or sabotage, including shaming British supporters by denouncing
them publicly in newspapers (haranguing) or even through the use of
tar and feathering [139].
Collectively, these acts of organized militias, action groups and
guerrilla armies resulted in an urban mobilization that ended up chal-
lenging British authority and military rule at the time. To be fair, they
also resulted in a horrendous civil war that, although arguably righteous
in their view, took an immense toll in terms of lives lost and damage
(with some calling it one of the bloodiest in American history,with
many non-combatants dying from disease or starvation) [141]. This
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
reminds readers, perhaps uncomfortably, that terrorism has been a
constant and driving force in American history, even when the American
Revolution was birthed itself [142].
A few decades later, Spanish peasants seeking to resist the rule of
Napoleon Bonapartes imperialism (1808 to 1813) in Europe are docu-
mented with one of the rst known instances of guerilla warfare
(because guerilla means small warin Spanish) when they used hit-and-
run tactics, as well as reliance on the local population for resources and
support, on the Iberian Peninsula to slow down advancing troops and
disrupt supply lines [143]. The Italian radical Carlo Bianco is credited
with being the rst to formally establish a link between guerrilla warfare
and radical politics in 18281829, when he noted that Italy could not be
freed by a conventional, modern war given the mobilization of large
armies would be impossible without discovery [144]. Instead guerilla
warfare was seen as a way to weaken invading and occupying armies or,
later, the state by deploying small bands of irregular ghters inferior in
numbers but superior in terms of knowing the local context and exible
in organization and action compared to existing political authorities.
Such tactics became widely used across Europe and beyond over the
following centuries, with guerilla operations resisting foreign invasion
and military occupation, attaining concessions from incumbent regimes,
overthrowing unpopular governments, and even leading to wars of
liberation or decolonization that result in new political entities [143].
The idea of counterinsurgency was created to counter guerilla warfare
tactics and insurgency in general [137].
Guerrilla warfare was also an important element in Mao Zedongs
Communist Revolution in China (1946 to 1949). There, the military
responsibilities of guerrillas were to chip away at enemy forces and
harass or weaken larger forces, as well as to attack lines of communi-
cation. It included the establishment of military bases that could support
independent activities to ank the enemy, or force the enemy to disperse
its strength [144].
Che Guevara and R´
egis Debray built on these ideas to promote a
Latin American variation of guerrilla warfare theory that saw the
guerrilla forces itself as an important fusion of military and political
authority. It was responsible for ushering in an era of urban guerrilla
warfare that emerged as a dominant strategy among Latin American
revolutionaries in the late 1960s. This included:
Attacks on or the sabotage of critical infrastructure such as police sta-
tions, banks, government buildings, and stores (examples related to
energy or climate change would be Maoist insurgents attacking hy-
dropower dams in Nepal [145], or members of the Basque separatist
group ETA attacking nuclear power plants in Spain [146]);
The assassination of political leaders or other prominent stakeholders,
to eliminate threats and also spread fear (an energy related example
here would be Alexander Berkmans attempted assassination of the
Pittsburg industrialist Henry Frick, who had previously been
partially responsible for the Johnstown Flood, and was responsible
for large coal and coke production) [147];
Taking armed or bombing actions during social upheavals (e.g. general
strikes, riots), to support and intensify social tensions (e.g. Tupa-
maros, IRA, George Jackson Brigade) [148,149].
The strategic use of bank robbery as a form of expropriation from
industries and industrialists (Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Citibank and
Bank of America could be targets, given their continued investments
in fossil fuels and their hidden role in accelerating climate change)
Targeted bombings to destroy infrastructure and/or spread fear [151]
(some bombings have already taken place closer to major summits
like the G8 or United Nations Climate Change Conferences, in at-
tempts to shape public debate [152], and both mail and pipe bombs
were sent to President Donald Trump over, in part, his stance on
climate change [153]);
The kidnapping of foreigners or business leaders, both to raise money
and also generate media publicity (indeed, it was the brief
kidnapping and taking hostage of Environmental Protection Agency
ofcials by the Love Canal Homeowners Association in 1980 that led
in part to the federal government taking action via Superfund
legislation [154]).
A theory of urban guerrilla warfare enveloping many of these tactics
was further developed by Carlos Marighela, who wrote a Handbook on it
[155]. This Handbook envisioned urban areas and cities not only as
targets to undertake political action, but also as offering safe havens
where insurgents could hide. Taking after Lenin, Marighela suggested
that urban guerrilla operations be carried out by a small elite group of
dedicated revolutionaries organized in cells, forming a complex under-
ground chain of command.
Reecting these violent tactics and arising from the anarchist milieu
in Mexico is the eco-extremist tendency. This is tendency employs
violence and terrorists tactics in a war against (ecologically destructive)
civilization. Inuenced by the UnabomberTed Kaczynski [156], the
group Individualistas Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS, Individuals Tending
Towards the Wild) propose an indiscriminate attackagainst civiliza-
tion and technological domination, which began in 2011 in Mexico by
sending postal bombs to robotics, biotechnology and nanotechnology
professors [157]. Eco-extremist groups are few in number, but more
groups are appearing in numerous countries (e.g. Chile, Argentina,
Greece) carrying out attacks against mining companies, electrical
infrastructure, equipment and specialized workers involved industries
harming or manipulating ecosystem [158]. Their actions have been
controversial and divisive, resulting in condemnation and rejection of
eco-extremist tendency by anarchists action groups and the public at
To be clear, there is another lineage of right wing authoritarianism
and/or fascist violence that we intentionally eschew (and sidestep in this
review) related to celebrating imperial domination, espousing racial
prejudice, mass killing and terrorism. Elements of left authoritarianism
related to Lenin, Mao and Marxist-Leninist ideology can also invoke
similar concerns [159]. Nevertheless, we focus on these tendencies on
the left, rather than on the fascist right, as they have innovated revo-
lutionary tactics and espoused, at least in word, their anti-capitalist,
egalitarian and self-determined aspirations. Terrorism, at least
initially, was a tactic from below,not a method of rule. Understanding
the aspirations, ideology and realities of revolutions is insightful in the
context of energy and climate action because state terrorism tends to be
a prerequisite of state power. State and market institutions, according to
this logic, are instrumental to ecological to climate catastrophe.
Furthermore, we are not demanding direct violence or military ac-
tion on behalf of the environment or climateeach reader will need to
determine their personal threshold for violence vs. non-violence them-
selves. The use of armed struggle, assassination, kidnapping, and
terrorist tactics (e.g. attacking civilians) is morally repugnant in many
situations and is often justied only in extreme circumstances (e.g.
authoritarian occupation). Moreover, such acts like bombings need to
take care not to result in killing people or indiscriminate collateral
damage. For example, in the early 1900s the Galleanists and other
Italian anarchists relied on mail bombs to business and government
ofcials with the intent of changing labor policy. Many argue that these
actions did more harm than good. Their bombs were indiscrim-
inateoften failing to hit the key capitalists, police, or judges they were
targetingand instead resulted in casualties among bystanders and
themselves [160]. The Marxist-Leninist Weather Underground had a
similar early experience, which led them to conduct bombings in a way
that would not resulting in killing people [161].
State terrorism and fascist violence depend on harming human and
nonhuman life, indiscriminately killing and employing terrorism to
control populations. These tactics, and all they represent, are standard
operating procedures of conventional and dirtywarfare. Military and
paramilitary actions do continue to occur around the world every year
with an entire spectrum of options presented in Fig. 8, which is drawn
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
from a review of the literature dealing with civil conict and military
history. Complicating matters, some environmental defenders rely on
similar tactics in response [12]. As Fig. 8 also reveals, the general idea
behind most campaigns for revolution, resistance and insurgency is to
not eschew violence but to strategically harness it. Insurgency and
guerilla tactics are not to be shrouded in secrecy forever, but to move
from covert acts upward to publicly visible overt acts. While many ac-
tions begin and remain in the underground (in normal text in the dia-
gram), they also move upward to capture armed actors (in bold) but also
the public (in italics). Moreover, the actions are arranged in a hierarchy
that sees many of the base actions at a smaller scale of activity coalesce
into broader actions at greater scales.
Notably, some actions, such as those in bold, involve armed incur-
sion or violence, but these options are meant to only serve a purpose
towards the nonviolent actions (such as settlement or governance) at the
top of the pyramid. Violence is not an end itself, but a means to achieve
nonviolent ends. This raises the question, and historical reection, over
how one ought to confront armed violence or provoke action from un-
responsive institutions in the face of socio-ecological crisis? The doc-
trines of reciprocity and proportionality may indicate that violence be
met with counter-violence.
To help readers imagine how such tactics may be used in practice to
promote climate action, Kim Stanley Robinsons novel Ministry for the
Future mentions the potential effectiveness of acts of environmental
terrorism such as industrial sabotage, kidnapping, and the assassina-
tion of those emitting large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, such
as those owing private jets or operating luxurious yachts, or the exec-
utives of fossil fuel companies [163]. The ctional activists even make
the use of drone-terrorism to shoot down commercial aircraft using
carbon-intensive fuels, or torpedo ships that run on diesel. In the book,
these coordinated acts are undertaken by a ctitious group known as the
Children of Kali. Some even interpret these actors as the unspoken hero
of the book, for it is through their actions that climate change is pre-
sented in a light where humanity faces the uncomfortable question as to
whether it would be worth killing small numbers of high-carbon-
emitting elites in order to save millions of other innocent people
[164]. The book implies that true climate action may occur only after
the fear of death is put into the hearts of the powerful, so that they begin
to meaningfully cut emissions and look for alternatives. In the book this
even involves the repeated bombing of reneries, coalmines, gas pipe-
lines, and fossil fueled powerplants, all in the name of protecting the
planet. The important message here centers on opening our tactical and
strategic imaginations about how to effectively respond to the ultimate
risk of socio-ecological catastrophe. Because whether our bank accounts
agree or not, all life on the planet has a stake in stopping ecological and
climate catastrophe and genuinely repairing our habitats.
6. Conclusion
Multiple conclusions arise from our analysis and review of tactics.
First, although controversial and provocative, leverage points and direct
action tactics for potentially transformative climate action do exist well
Fig. 8. A spectrum of tactics for revolution, resistance and insurgency Source: Modied substantially from [162].
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
outside the comfortable, formal, and accepted domains of crafting local
policy, contributing to national policy and debate, or changing business
practices. Our review of the three approaches of civil disobedience, anti-
authoritarian strategies and guerilla warfare offers an array of at least 20
overlapping tactics summarized in Fig. 9. Many of these tactics are
common across literatures and political spectrums, transcending specic
places (geographic context) and time periods (temporality). Some of
these tactics are extreme, violent, and of questionable moral status.
Others are more non-threatening, such as delegitimation, sit-ins and
permitted demonstrations. Some of the tactics are strictly non-violent, e.
g. watching and witnessing, boycotting, or resistance; some are more
violent, e.g. sabotage, kidnapping, or physical attack and destruction.
Some tactics are transient, i.e. shutting down a coal-plant for a few days
or boycotting products for a few months, whereas others result in more
permanent change, i.e. campaigns of permanent resistance spanning
years, enacting regulations that shut down coal plants or permanent
state and federal legislation (e.g. the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The
movements and groups able to deploy a diversity of tactics, supporting
an expansive non-violence category and not succumbing to perdious
inghting (often related to positionality and politics), will likely have
higher levels of success.
Second, and already hinted at when introducing Fig. 9, is that while
our tactics come from different political approaches and literatures
spanning anarchy and Marxian political theory, civil disobedience and
history, and military studies and insurgency, many of them cut across
categories, especially those such as demonstrations, movements, boy-
cotts, occupations, ecotage and permanent resistance. Despite their
diverse and different roots, such tactics do interconnect in many salient
ways. All envision very active roles on the part of individuals. Indeed, an
important feature of our three perspectives is that each is infused with
revolutionary principles that see the involvement of people as central in
carrying out sustained acts of struggle and resistance. They also entail a
mix of overt and covert actions, legal and illegal acts, legitimate and
illegitimate practices, and violent and nonviolent tactics. This diversity
of tactics even challenges the notion of what it means to participate in
democracy or what constitutes a political act of climate pro-
tectionthese tactics demand active and sustained involvement in ways
very distinct from more passive roles such as consuming, voting, or
investing. It also forces us to consider what socially just, ecologically
sustainable, or democratically legitimate options are for people and
communities when people are themselves deprived of any choice in
technological development or the environmental destruction facing
them. Direct action can be interpreted as an expression of democratic
participation, especially when the issues that matter are off the political
Third, some if not many of our tactics can become learnedor
stale,that is they can lose their efcacy over time as opponents
anticipate and learn to preempt them [5]. For example, one survey of the
civil rights movement noted that sit-ins and Freedom Rides initially put
the supporters of segregation on the defensive, but this tactical inno-
vation was quickly followed by adaptation which neutralized the tem-
porary advantages gained by the movement [135]. Demonstrations can
result in effective social change, but they can also be countered or
coopted by incumbents. In Nigeria, for example, the disarming of
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in 2012,
which had organized mass protests against unpopular energy policies,
succeeding not in meaningful change, but in encouraging subsidy re-
formers to develop more tactical approaches to introducing reforms
timing or policing them so as to avoid or defuse protests [165]. Fuel
protests in Mozambique in 2008 and 2010 similarly taught the state to
deploy extreme violence against protestors to weaken their opposition
[165]. Moreover, during the anti-Vietnam war movement in the 1960s
and 1970s, there was the worry that the destruction of property and calls
for armed engagement were instigated by paid provocateurs in an
attempt by government agencies to discredit movements in the eyes of
the public, not activists themselves [166,167]. These themes of tactic
and counter-tactic, and legitimacy and provocation, are certainly
worthy of additional academic scrutiny.
Fourth, we do not endorse all of the options we survey. Some of them
are indeed objectionable and questionable, and involve murky morality
concerning the loss of life. When contemplating this inventory of tactics,
there is a distinction made within the literature about degrees of
acceptable sabotage or rioting, and at what point acts of civil disobe-
dience can justify violence or intentionally provoke incumbents to
violence, an infamous tactic of Martin Luther King Jr [72]. For instance,
rioting and black bloc tactics are important to anarchists. Autonomist
Fig. 9. An inventory of anarchist, civil disobedience, and guerilla tactics for climate protection Source: Authors.
B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
Energy Research & Social Science 86 (2022) 102416
action is important to actions groups like Revolutionary Cells, which are
horizontal, decentralized and open to anyone to take action, which is
revived through the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), Earth Liberation
Front (ELF) and the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI). The ALF and
ELF have a strict policy of not killing people or harming animals, but
sabotaging via any means [168]. Each group negotiates their own line
between what is ethically acceptable and what is prohibited.
Admittedly, each of us will individually oscillate on the spectrum
with which perspective we endorse, and some, or even many, may reject
all three perspectives or all twenty tactics. We nevertheless believe it is
important to begin the discussion about a range of options for protecting
our ecosystems and climate. Regardless of which tactics they agree with,
everyone should work to create space in their respective places to
encourage energy autonomy, pursue degrowth or more sustainable
lifestyles, and seek to remedy, or challenge, existing extractive supply
Fifth, and lastly, our inventory of tactics represents an opportunity
not only to change practices but also challenge our thinking about what
practices are even possible or desirable. As Noam Chomsky wrote,
anarchism constitutes an unending struggle, since progress in achieving
a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms
of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and con-
sciousness[169]. Given all that is at stake, we must begin to imagine
what a no holds barred approach to social change would entail. The
insurrection or decolonizing of energy research necessitates not only
questioningand deconstructingresearch, but also creating openings
and spaces for direct action. The activist and academic Vandana Shiva
argued that the rst step towards challenging a dominant or destructive
technology begins not with physical destruction or action, but with
thinking, with challenging monocultures of the mind [170]. In this un-
ending struggle, we need to not only decarbonize our technology, but
decolonize our thinking about what is possible, proportional, and
Declaration of Competing Interest
The authors declare that they have no known competing nancial
interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to inuence
the work reported in this paper.
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B.K. Sovacool and A. Dunlap
... These movements have used a broad spectrum of strategies from press conferences to street protests, to more radical civil disobedience, to demand more ambitious climate action. They combine vocal public protest with dedicated policy work, agenda setting and lobbying (Sovacool and Dunlap, 2022). Slowly, the balance on climate action appears to be tipping in their favour, although not with the speed or intensity they rightfully demand. ...
... Driven by a strong sense of urgency in light of depleting carbon budgets and the rapidly dwindling time left to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change, XR engages in disruptive modes of protest such as street sit-ins and blockades of carbonintensive infrastructures. These more radical strategies and tactics of civil disobedience have been adopted by other movements such as Ende Gelände or Letzte Generation (Sovacool and Dunlap, 2022). ...
... These movements have used a broad spectrum of strategies from press conferences to street protests, to more radical civil disobedience, to demand more ambitious climate action. They combine vocal public protest with dedicated policy work, agenda setting and lobbying (Sovacool and Dunlap, 2022). Slowly, the balance on climate action appears to be tipping in their favour, although not with the speed or intensity they rightfully demand. ...
... Driven by a strong sense of urgency in light of depleting carbon budgets and the rapidly dwindling time left to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change, XR engages in disruptive modes of protest such as street sit-ins and blockades of carbonintensive infrastructures. These more radical strategies and tactics of civil disobedience have been adopted by other movements such as Ende Gelände or Letzte Generation (Sovacool and Dunlap, 2022). ...
... Morrison et al. [1] recently state that meaningful climate action requires such interventions. Sovacool and Dunlap [2]write that climate policy implementation seems woefully insufficient to tackle rising emissions, and that even daring, obstinate, transformative options need to be considered by "engineered" options [16][17][18][19]. Still other work distinguishes between "hard," centralized, scale-driven approaches versus "soft," distributed, bespoke approaches [20]. ...
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Given the inadequacy of current patterns of climate mitigation, calls for rapid climate protection are beginning to explore and endorse potentially radical options. Based on fieldwork involving original expert interviews (N = 23) and extensive site visits (N = 23) in Australia, this empirical study explores four types of climate interventions spanning climate differing degrees of radicalism: adaptation, solar geoengineering, forestry and ecosystems restoration , and carbon removal. It examines ongoing efforts to engage in selective breeding and assisted adaptation of coral species to be introduced on the Great Barrier Reef, as well as to implement regional solar geoengineering in the form of fogging and marine cloud brightening. It also examines related attempts at both nature-based and engineered forms of carbon removal vis-à-vis ecosystem restoration via forestry conservation and reforestation in the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area, and enhanced weathering and ocean alkalinization. This portfolio of climate interventions challenges existing categorizations and typologies of climate action. Moreover, the study identifies positive synergies and coupling between the options themselves, but also lingering trade-offs and risks needing to be taken into account. It discusses three inductive themes which emerged from the qualitative data: complexity and coupling, risk and multi-scalar effects, and radicality and governance. It elucidates these themes with an attempt to generalize lessons learned for other communities around the world considering climate interventions to protect forests, preserve coral reefs, or implement carbon removal and solar geoengineering.
... Sovacool and Dunlap recently offered a taxonomy made of three overlapping categories of tactics and strategies: (1) civil disobedience, (2) anti-authoritarian resistance, and (3) militant, insurgent, and guerilla action. 56 The kind of actions described in MFF are coherent with the framing of all three and especially the third category; however, the fictional portrayals contradict both the content and the attainment of SDG 16. Overall, both the scholarly inventory of climate tactics and those discussed in different kinds of energy utopias (including eu-topias and dys-topias) represent "an opportunity not only to change practices but also challenge our thinking about what practices are even possible or desirable." ...
Strategic narratives about the transition to sustainable energy systems, including those influenced by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), frequently incorporate utopian elements. These ambitious targets encapsulate future-oriented visions and postulate implications of technological advancements; they also often underrepresent or even bypass the multifaceted nature of socioeconomic diversities, planetary constraints, and persistent energy disputes. The genre of utopian science fiction can offer a valuable heuristic to elucidate the heterogeneous and occasionally unsatisfactory projections that emerge from the SDGs. Two seminal novels — Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia (1975) and Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future (2020) — which we classify as “fictional energy utopias” (FEUs), present incisive critiques of contemporary energy mechanisms and practices and envisage equitable, resilient, and robust renewable energy systems and socio-technical structures. Through an approach that combines narrative and discourse analyses, these literary works are juxtaposed with selected indicators of three SDGs. The ensuing study underscores the primacy of the topic of energy in policy and its concomitant narratives in fostering collective endeavors toward sustainable development. It also amplifies the pivotal interconnections between SDG 7 “Affordable and Clean Energy,” SDG 13 “Climate Action,” and SDG 16 “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.” Employing FEUs to evaluate sustainability policies can substantially benefit researchers, policy architects, and public engagement coordinators by highlighting lacunae and limitations within revailing strategic narratives and proposing potential enhancements to fortify their capacity to motivate collective action.
... 9 This risks erasing militant autonomous and anti-colonial actions by absorbing them into justice frameworks, which also tend towards extending normative Western conceptions of 'social movements' that assume a particular form of (bureaucratic) organising and underwriting the prevalence of 'property damage' and 'sabotage' in non-violent political struggles (cf Scheidel et al. (2020). 10 These tactics are legitimate, if dubbed illegal by a system mandating and regulating accelerating extractivism and urbanization (Sovacool and Dunlap, 2022). Individuals and action groups and various militant actions tend to be erased under normative conceptions of social movements (e.g. ...
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The green economy and ‘green growth’ are not solutions to ecological and climate catastrophe. The dominate trajectory of techno-industrial development has to be reconsidered and placed within ecological limits. The ‘social’, related to environmental and climate justice, tends towards subordinating the ecological in the maintenance of modernist infrastructures, and thus towards breaking efforts to achieve socio ecological harmony. The following examines the realities of resource extractivism, but also tensions within academic debates on these matters. This entails locating an important ‘grey area’within these debates, which has significant implications for imagining pathways to address ecological and climate catastrophe. This grey area—questioning the difference between extractivism and industrialism—also persists within archetypal positions on land acquisition and shades of reform in environmental justice studies, and, to a lesser degree, in the (academic) decolonial literature. This chapter contends that environmental justice reinforces modernist development, necessitating and expanding extractivism and ecologically destructive infrastructures. By highlighting ambiguities in critical literatures, it seeks to provide political clarity, reinforcing personal and collective self-determination and, secondarily, to encourage public policy to begin taking climate catastrophe seriously.
Calls for the use of property destruction as a climate change strategy are understandable given social conditions that make such ‘climatage’ appealing, including the chronic failure of institutions to address climate change and the widespread sense that these institutions are illegitimate and will continue to fail to act (post-legitimacy); the inability of atomized individuals to successfully transform the forces driving climate change (real helplessness); the virtualization of politics into inconsequential moralism (hyper-politics); and widespread despair about the environmental crisis and future of the world. Despite the appeal, property destruction as a climate change strategy will likely prove counterproductive for at least three reasons, deduced from research on social movements: (1) property destruction will likely decrease public support for climate activists and climate policy, (2) property destruction will almost certainly increase state repression, a fight that climate activists will likely lose, and (3) alternative tactics that do not involve property destruction will likely prove more effective. In addition to our pragmatic intervention, we make a theoretical contribution to our understanding of social movements and strategy.
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In recent years, the phenomenon of climate change has emerged as a critical global issue that poses a significant threat to human survival. Industries such as fossil fuels, manufacturing, and agriculture have been identified as major sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Corporate activities have played a role in triggering legal actions holding them accountable for their contribution to climate change. Therefore, this research analyses the prospects and challenges of climate change litigation against corporations in Indonesia using human rights approach. This research has adopted normative legal research with a statutory and historical approach. Descriptive analysis is applied to analyze the data. This paper reveals that the use of human rights approach can strengthen arguments against corporations over climate change. This paper concludes that despite the challenge that may arise, there is a big chance for successful climate change litigation against corporations in Indonesia by using human rights approach as the main claim.
Teknolojinin hızla geliştiği günümüzde yapay zekâ çoğu alanda olduğu gibi sinemada da kendine yer bulmuştur. Özellikle son yıllarda yapay zekâ, sinema sektöründe üretimi kolaylaştırdığı için tercih sebebi haline gelmiştir. Ancak bu süreç, bir geçiş dönemi olarak nitelendirilebilir. Bu geçiş süreci her ne kadar bireysel üreticinin lehine gibi görünse de ilerleyen dönemlerde sinema endüstrisinin aleyhinde sonuçlanma riski taşımaktadır. Henüz kurallara ve yasalara tabi olmayan ve sinema sektöründeki kullanımı oldukça yeni olan yapay zekânın denetimsiz bir şekilde kullanımının sonuçları ile ilgili çok az araştırma yapılmıştır. Çalışmanın amacı sinema sektöründe yapay zekânın kullanım amaçları ve yapay zekâ teknolojisiyle üretilen filmlere ilişkin özgün bir değerlendirmede bulunmaktır. Araştırmada yapay zekâ tabanlı teknolojinin ilk defa kullanıldığı film örnekleri belirlenmiş ve kullanım kolaylığı açısından değerlendirilmiştir. Araştırma, bu örneklerin üretim öncesi, üretim ve üretim sonrası aşamalarına odaklanarak aynı zamanda bu yeni teknolojiyle birlikte içerik ve biçim konusundaki çalışmaların nasıl bir değişim geçirdiğini ortaya koymayı amaçlamaktadır. Ayrıca yapay zekâ teknolojisinin diğer sanat alanlarına getirdiği yenilikler ve bunun sonuçları çeşitli yönleriyle tartışmaya açılmıştır.
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Highlighting areas for investigation, the conclusion briefly discusses five areas in need of greater attention and care. This includes challenging further: (1) The “fossil fuels versus renewable energy dichotomy” and related supply webs; (2) quantitative data collection and energy models; (3) the normative language in energy research; (4) greater engagement with degrowth literature; and (5), in line with the book, further unpacking and questioning democracy. By further unraveling these areas, the conclusion seeks to indicate doorways towards an insurrection of energy research, challenging—if not overthrowing—existing conceptions, methodologies, terminology, economic and political forms of organization and, consequently, research.
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Given the growing frequency, severity, and salience of social mobilization and community action on energy and climate issues, in this study we systematically explore the configurations of types of infrastructure, actors, tactics, and outcomes of recent opposition to energy transitions across seven carbon-intensive regions in Asia, Europe, and North America. Based on both a literature review and an original dataset of 130 case studies spanning the past decade, we track opposition to a wide range of energy infrastructure in these regions, including low-carbon options such as renewable energy and nuclear power; provide network analyses of the actors and coalitions involved in such events; and develop a typology and frequency analysis of tactics (such as litigation or protest), and outcomes (such as remuneration, policy change, concessions, or labor protections). We show that the politics of energy transitions in carbon-intensive regions varies significantly from country to country and across types of energy, and we discuss how the configurations of infrastructure, actors, tactics, and outcomes can be explained by differences in national institutions and their responses to global or supranational pressures. By bringing both a sociotechnical and comparative perspective to the global analysis of social movements and energy transitions, we suggest how goals of energy transition are refracted through national and subnational institutions and through local mobilizations both in support of and opposed to those transitions.
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Energy protests are becoming increasingly common and significant around the world. While in the global North concerns tend to centre around climate issues, in the global South the concerns are more often with affordable energy. Both types of protests, however, have one issue in common: the undemocratic nature of energy policymaking. This paper draws together findings from research conducted in three countries, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Pakistan to ask how and under which conditions do struggles over energy access in fragile and conflict affected settings empower the powerless to hold public authorities to account? In exploring this theme, the study examines what factors support protests developing into significant episodes of contention within fragile settings, and whether these energy struggles promote citizen empowerment and institutional accountability.
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Net-zero energy systems are critical for reducing global temperature change to 1.5°C. Transitioning to net-zero systems is simultaneously a technological and a social challenge. Different net-zero configurations imply different system and lifestyle changes, and strongly depend on people supporting and adopting these changes. This Perspective presents key insights from the social sciences into factors that motivate low-carbon behaviour and support for low-carbon technologies, policies, and system changes that would need to be addressed to successfully design, develop, implement, and operate net-zero systems. As there is no single net-zero solution, and configurations may differ from region to region, we discuss cultural and regional factors that can enable or inhibit the implementation of net-zero systems on a global scale.
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Theodore Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, is one of America’s most infamous domestic terrorists. His 1995 Manifesto, ‘Industrial Society and Its Future’, is well known and influential among radicals of many stripes, yet surprisingly little has been written about it. This article uncovers the origins of Kaczynski’s ideas and examines his influence on contemporary anti-tech radicalism. Using newly discovered archival material, I reveal the sources that Kaczynski deliberately concealed in the 1995 Washington Post version of his Manifesto. My excavation of his sources shows that his ideology is more novel than the common ‘eco-terrorist’, ‘green anarchist’, and ‘neo-Luddite’ labels suggest. His Manifesto is a synthesis of ideas from three well known academics: French philosopher Jacques Ellul, British zoologist Desmond Morris, and American psychologist Martin Seligman. Further, I show that it is necessary to understand Kaczynski’s distinct combination of ideas in order to understand the anti-tech radical groups that he has inspired, such as the Mexican terrorist group Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS). The ideological novelty of anti-tech radicalism has been overlooked because, like Kaczynski himself, it has been mistaken for radical environmentalism or green anarchism.
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Inspired by recent works by Lina Álvarez and Brendan Coolsaet in Capitalism Nature Socialism, this commentary introduces the concept of anarchist decolonization for further exploration. Recognizing constructive decolonial criticisms, the article briefly reviews the multiplicity of anarchist positions and their relationship to anti-colonial/decolonial struggles. Then observable tensions within decolonial theory are discussed, highlighting issues to which anarchist decolonization responds. Finally, exploring anarchist decolonization reinforces and expands on the issues voiced by Álvarez and Coolsaet with Environmental Justice (EJ) studies.
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Inspired by previous protest movements, climate activists began taking to the streets in the fall of 2018, revitalizing and reshaping the three-decade-old climate activist movement. This metamorphosis in climate activism, which has led millions around the world to participate in climate strikes and protests, is reflected in the composition of the activists themselves, who the media frequently portray as primarily young and female. In order to better understand this new and evolving landscape, we surveyed self-identifying climate activists, obtaining results from 367 individuals across 66 countries. Our survey, augmented by seven individual interviews, provides an overview of current climate activists, their attitudes, priorities, and actions. Here we map our findings, delineat-ing differences based on gender, age, and geography. Our results indicate that the media's focus on young female activists is warranted-at least in Europe and North America. We find that while activists share a commitment toward rapid and substantial reduction of greenhouse gases, their attitudes and actions taken to address climate change can significantly differ by demographic group. Despite its limitations, this study provides a glimpse into the demographics, behaviors, and attitudes of climate activists across the globe.
While controversial plans for fossil fuel pipeline-building continue across Indigenous lands without consent, how are visual practices – including watching and witnessing – serving as modes of resistance? Drawing on a participant-observation ethnography over the 2018–2021 period with environmental defenders on Coast Salish land, in what is colonially called ‘British Columbia, Canada’, this article offers a lens for exploring visual realms of resistance amid expanding extractivism, police surveillance and reconfigured pipeline opposition during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grassroots photography in land-based monitoring, artistic communication in and around courtrooms and other visual practices have been serving as powerful inflection points, countering multiple facets of petro-colonialism – ecological destruction, health threats, and moral and legal transgressions by companies and state institutions. They have also been stimulating new collective actions, some led by Indigenous land protectors extending longstanding traditions of protecting human and non-human life. As ‘more-than-representational’, visual encounters can be active players in constructing knowledge, challenging structures of dispossession, genocide and ecocide, and cultivating understandings of care, sovereignty, climate justice and anti-colonial solidarity from heterogeneous vantage points. Some environmental defenders’ visual creativities invite deep reflection on ontologies rooted in reciprocity and respect that are thoroughly ignored in extractivist settler-colonial cultures. The article situates visual strategies in fraught political contexts of ramped-up police and corporate surveillance targeting Indigenous land protectors and other environmental defenders, underscoring critical concern about superficial optical allyship and hollow gestures by state actors responding to racism and state violence on Indigenous land. It calls for attention to dialectical relationships amongst state visual tactics and counter-hegemonic visual practices in struggles to resist colonial energy regimes and to cultivate efforts towards alternative, less destructive energy futures.