This thesis process, despite being my second, was unique. Though I began this process two years ago, which is mind boggling to think about, I have changed my course slightly along the way. In all honesty, at the start of this semester I was unsure on how to approach ecoterrorism, and I was only certain of the fact that I wanted to focus my research on radical environmental activism. Between my research for my previous environmental studies courses, and my last thesis, I felt prepared to engage with this topic meaningfully, but doing so in an original way seemed like a challenge I was unprepared for.
There is an abundance of existing research on the implications and utility of radical environmental activism, especially within the United States. This topic is widely debated due to the ratification of the term “ecoterrorism,” and it’s vague definition. Even from the start of my research I found myself dismissing this term, as I view it as a tool of the state. But I am certainly not alone in that belief, which challenged me to craft a thesis outcome that would reflect my views, but add in some semblance of originality.
Despite all of my research, I had not yet come across a study where quantifiable data was used to question the manifest and latent utility of radical environmental activism. While this path seemed like one that would result in a project that was uniquely my own, it was and is not feasible for a lone researcher. I suppose that in this sense, my capstone work has taught me that even if a project is unrealistic, or too grand for one person to tackle, it is still worth asking these questions.
I do hope that someone shares my curiosity for this topic, and continues to probe the radical actions I investigated. I recognized the impossibility of providing concrete answers to the utility of radical activism, and proceeded anyway, with the understanding that any amount of research would illuminate something in the end.
Now, with my polished capstone, I know that concrete answers to any of our daunting framing questions are unattainable, but that’s kind of the point of this exercise. Writing a capstone isn’t about finding undiscovered truths, it’s about dedicating time and effort to a subject that someone cares about, in the hope of learning something new. With the novelty of radical environmental actions within the United States, I am sure that my curiosity will be shared by future researchers.