At the beginning of the 21st century, the term environmental or ecological terrorism became part of the media lexicon. Generally it’s used to describe the actions of radical activists who, in their efforts to protect the environment, overstep acceptable social boundaries. The documentary If a Tree Falls tells the personal story of activist Daniel McGowen. As part of the radical Earth Liberation Front, McGowen participated in arson attacks in many places in the U.S. The film describes the transformation of nonconformist protectors of the environment from demonstration organisers and exponents of passive resistance to active, violent warriors fighting the symbols of environmental devastation. It explores the dilemma one faces in fighting for higher goals that go beyond the consumer values of today’s world in a way that is still socially acceptable. Against the backdrop of McGowen’s age progression (he is living through a vital catharsis connected to punishment for his wild years), the film also probes the inner life of the movements and groups that organised violent protests against corporations and international financial institutions at the beginning of the century. The film has been shortlisted for an Oscar.