Occasionally in the past, there may have been a comment or two in this space about folks identified as “radical environmentalists.” That has always been a troubling moniker.

Radical may be applicable, but some identified as radicals object to the adjective. Cannot blame them. It is a bit harsh in most instances. Then again, I find in troubling in separating out this group as “environmentalists,” because it implies that farmers, journalists, the fellow next door, or the neighbor across the street are not “environmentalists.” We all really care about the environment, whether we work for a “non-profit, watchdog organization” or are just “plain old, working for the man Americans.”

Let’s agree everyone is an environmentalist for now, but what adjective can we use other than radical, to separate out those who make a living protecting everyone from each other by spending rich foundations’ cash.

Restaurant menus is where I found the term I had been searching for. Restaurant menus can be enlightening reading material. Several entrees are particularly comical. One is tilapia, a fish growing in popularity among the enlightened. I have been known to discernibly chuckle at seeing tilapia on the menu. However, I will not go into why, except to say I have interviewed several farmers who had particularly clean irrigation canals.

The other entree that makes me smile is “free-range chicken.” This, according to our government, only implies poultry that has been allowed to have access to the outdoors — versus those raised in some sort of indoor confinement — before they both wind up dead, cooked and served on a restaurant’s finest china. No area specified. No fencing specified. Just outdoors.

“Free-range chicken” on a menu conjures up images of dainty hens frolicking through grass, cluckily proclaiming their freedom from whatever their cousins in the poultry house nearby are enduring.

It’s time we borrow a page from the menu and call those once identified as “radical environmentalists” as “free-range environmentalists” from now on. After all, they are different than the rest of society. They want to live free from the constraints of technology. They prefer to commune with nature, after all there is no bad in nature. Nature comes first; man second. They want to eat natural foods like free-range chickens. Free-range chickens are often fenced. However, that is okay for free-range environmentalists who want to keep most of us out of their free range.

Free-range certainly sounds more palatable that “radical.” It gives the former radicals a more warm and fuzzy handle from which to prance around the world saving us all. It separates them from the rest of us unidentified environmentalists. It may even get them a warmer welcome into government bureaucracies where they can cause even more havoc. It may even get them more cash with which to save us.

Yes, heretofore, those who are protecting me shall be known as “free-range environmentalists” just like those free-range chickens on the menu. After all, it was the former radicals who palmed-off free-range chickens on society as somehow better than just regular old chickens.

e-mail: hcline@farmpress.com