How Climate Change Is Becoming a Deadly Part of White Nationalism
By Brian Kahn
Excerpt: This weekend’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, has re-opened the festering debates over gun control, immigration, and the president’s penchant for racist hate speech. But the manifesto believed to have been authored by the suspected shooter also reveals another horrific idea edging its way toward the mainstream from the primordial sludge of racist message boards.
Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old suspect police took into custody after the shooting, is believed to have uploaded a four-page white nationalist document to the message board 8chan (it’s since been removed from the site, which itself has been forced into retreat, and we won’t be linking to it) outlining his motives for killing at least 22 people at Walmart on Saturday. Included among its racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric are ideas central to the mainstream environmental movement. “[O]ur lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country. The decimation of the environment is creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources,” it reads.
Where Crusius’ views violently diverge is the solution to these real issues. The manifesto suggests Americans overconsumption will never stop, so the only option is “get rid of enough people” to make the American lifestyle “more sustainable.” Horrific, disgusting, and absurd, this so-called ecofascist ideology uses legitimate environmental concerns to justify racist policies and, sometimes, mass murder.
This isn’t the first time right-wing or fascist figures have pulled from environmentalism to further their cause. Some thinkers within Hitler’s National Socialist party espoused the idea that “[o]nly through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature can our people be made stronger,” though the relationship of the Nazis and environment is a bit more complicated than that. Racists throughout U.S. history have often misappropriated population control tied to resource protection, an idea popularized in the 18th century by Thomas Malthus. His idea that food production couldn’t keep up with exponential population growth has been debunked since, well… here we are with 7 billion humans on Earth and enough food for everyone (if it were distributed equitably, that is). Much of the discourse around overpopulation centers on developing countries and stereotypes rather than the reality that rich countries—and their richest citizens in particular—are the biggest resource consumers on Earth.
To get a handle on that as well as the origins of ideology, I spoke with Betsy Hartmann, a professor emeritus at Hampshire College (full disclosure: it’s my alma mater). Hartmann has long studied the connections between white nationalism and environmentalism, something she’s referred to as the “greening of hate.” Our conversation is below, lightly edited for clarity.
Hartmann: I would say the internet and right-wing media certainly plays a role in spreading them. But we can’t ignore how Malthusian ideas about overpopulation and the environment are taught in high schools all over the United States. They are an important part of many environmental studies curricula. There’s a deep racial undercurrent with poor people of color are presented as having too many children and destroying the environment.
[Climate Depot Note: Former Vice President Al Gore falls into this description. See: Gore in 2014: ‘Fertility management’ is needed to reduce the number of Africans to help ‘control the proliferation of unusual weather’ – Gore: ‘Depressing the rate of child mortality, educating girls, empowering women and making fertility management ubiquitously available. so women can chose how many children and the spacing of children — is crucial to the future shape of human civilization. Africa is projected to have more people than China and India by mid-century More than China and India combined by end of the century. and this is one of the causal factors that must be addressed’ – (Gore also links Typhoon Haiyan and Sandy to man-made global warming – Video of Gore here at 15 min. mark)
Earther: Why does this strain of environmentalism seem to appeal to right-wing subculture in particular?
Hartmann: The environmental movement in the U.S. has, I would say, overindulged in apocalyptic thinking for a long time. There’s that kind of apocalyptic bridge and then the nature-race-purity bridge. What’s so horrifying and shocking to me is that these manifestos are openly Malthusian environmentalist arguments. I don’t think we saw that quite as much before in the armed white nationalist movement.
Full Gizmodo article here: https://earther.gizmodo.com/how-climate-change-is-becoming-a-deadly-part-of-white-n-1837010929
"How Climate Change Is Becoming a Deadly Part of White Nationalism"
— Tom Nelson (@tan123) August 7, 2019
Climate Depot note: Other racially charged controversies continue on the environmental left.
Environmentalists accuse Leonardo DiCaprio’s new HBO climate documentary of promoting ‘white supremacy’ & a ‘white savior complex’ – DiCaprio under attack by fellow climate justice activists at The Rowan Institute: “The film does not highlight the leadership or scholarship of a single Black, Indigenous, or other women of color despite the fact that such women of color are leading the global frontlines of climate justice movements.” “The recent release of the film ‘Ice on Fire’ demonstrates that white supremacy and western colonialism continues to dominate the mainstream environmental movement’s narratives and framing of climate solutions.”