The intensifying exploitation of the ecosystem by an exploding human population has had a dramatic effect on other species. A broader proposal has been suggested for dealing with the relations between humans and animals, namely, animal rights. The study of the social causes of the victimization of other species constitutes an original contribution of the sociological analysis of social action in its context and a new dimension of critical social theory. 'Monopolization' and 'closure' are concepts that can be applied to both humans and nonhuman species and help to comprehend the ecological dangers to both that have resulted from human actions. Far from diverting energy away from struggles against human oppression, the emerging ecologically based critical social theory mobilizes energy to struggle against the oppression of future generations of humans. They are the ones who risk being most affected by the actions of the present generation on the natural environment.