As an urban planner, I'm generally sympathetic to environmental causes, provided that there is a well-reasoned, scientific basis for the alleged environmental threat, not just some nimbys cooking up b.s. to prevent some unwanted land use. I would even consider myself an environmentalist, but I'm hesitant to do so publicly because I sense that most people view environmentalists as being extremist and having unreasonable views, and even anti-establishment behaviors and lifestyles. This popular perception is reinforced when the media reports on enviro-wackos in the Pacific Northwest burning down new subdivisions and chaining themselves to trees. Or when some environmental concerns are perceived to go overboard, such as the million-dollar lawsuit to prevent a project that may harm some species/habitat that is deemed insignificant to 95% of the population. And of course there is the nasty "tree-hugger" stereotype of environmentalists as dirty, long-haired, petrulli-oil wearing, head-in-the-clouds-pot-smokers.
I'm wondering what your general perceptions are of environmentalists and how you think they equate with popular impressions. What defines someone as an environmentalist- work, political views, public behaviors, etc? How have you interacted professionally with environmentalists as an urban planner?