Eco-terrorism is any crime committed in the name of saving nature. The definition of terrorism is "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives." Eco-terrorism crimes include arson, attempted murder, criminal trespass, death threats, malicious destruction of property, murder, and vandalism, usually committed against farmers, ranchers, land owners, miners, loggers, manufacturers, developers, scientists and research staff and local authority staff. Further actions include organized vandalism called by environmentalists, monkey wrenching, which means sabotage against goods, producers, and their equipment, in order to save nature. Eco-terrorism can also include equipment vandalism, sending package bombs, blockades using physical force to obstruct workers from going where they have a legal right to go, and the illegal occupancy of private or government offices to commit the crime of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience that results in criminal arrests, while not classified by law enforcement as "terrorism," can be considered an act of eco-terrorism. These actions can include criminal trespass, obstruction, property destruction, intimidation that result in convictions, fines and jail sentences.
Examples are the studding of trees with large nails to prevent sawing (tree-spiking) and the destruction of earth-moving equipment (monkey-wrenching).
Environmental terrorism has also been used as an instrument of warfare. In 1991, Saddam Hussein set fire to more than 600 oil wells in Kuwait as an act of Iraqi wartime wrath. The fires consumed an estimated 5 million barrels of oil a day (a loss of more than $90 million a day), which equalled three times Kuwait's pre-war production. Covering thousands of acres, the spilled oil and toxic gases destroyed plant and animal life and devastated the sanctity of subsurface waters.