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All topics from climate change to conservation | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW

All topics from climate change to conservation | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW

Flowers in front of a police blockade

People who identify themselves as eco-fascists are alleged to have committed at least three far-right murders in recent years.

The accused Ten Black people were murdered in a Buffalo supermarket, New York.On Saturday, antisemitic conspiracy theories were entwined with natural conservation. The 18-year-old racist rant ran 180 pages and included justifications for murder by linking mass migration to the destruction of the natural environment.

The alleged perpetrator seems to have many of the same characteristics as the victim. These are the views of the young men who, in 2019, committed racist massacresIn El PasoTexas, and Christchurch, New Zealand.Indeed, it appears that the alleged Buffalo killer may have been a Buffalo killer. Large sections were copiedHis screed from the Christchurch killer.

The Christchurch terrorist, who killed 51 people in two mosques, called himself an “ethnonationalist ecofascist” and called for “ethnic independence” and “the preservation and restoration of nature and the natural order.” The Australian man referred to climate change as overpopulation by non Europeans in his diatribe. This is one of the central ideas behind eco-fascism.

Flowers in front of a police blockade

The Buffalo shooter appears have taken passages from Christchurch’s screeds and used them as bait.

What is an eco-fascist and how can you define it?

Cassidy Thomas stated to DW that “the most basic definition would be (someone) with a fascist politic, or a fascist view that is invoking environment concern or environmental rhetoric as a justification for the hateful and extreme elements within their ideology.”

Thomas is a PhD student at Syracuse University, upstate New York. His research focuses on the intersection of right-wing extremism as well as environmental politics.

Thomas states that regular fascists include populist ultranationalists, who invoke a narrative about civilizational crisis and decline, and then rebirth along cultural or nationalist lines. The civilizational threat that eco-fascists see within that equation is climate change or ecological disturbances.

Eco-fascists are tied up in racist theories and believe that the degradation of the natural environment leads to the degradation of their culture and their people, added Thomas. 

Many believe that nonwhite overpopulation is threatening white people as well as the environment. They often call for an end to immigration or the elimination of non-white people.

Thomas stated, “They envision the dissolution of mixed race, liberal democratic states or these very libertarian and pluralistic democracies, and the replacement with that political formation by ethnically defined and smaller-natured ecological states.”

Their simplistic theories do not address the complex realities of life. Climate change and ecological destruction, and ignore the fact that the Global North is responsible for most of the emissions that have caused global heating, for instance.

Why is eco-fascism so appealing?

Far-right ideologies, such as ecofascism, are increasingly popular among young people who are concerned about climate change but don’t believe governments have done enough to address it properly.

Thomas stated, “Unfortunately as climate change has gotten more severe over 30 years, it’s becoming harder to ignore or to question even the most far-right and conservative elements of politics,” Thomas said.

Thomas said that Eco-fascist narratives give believers a sense of purpose and a call to action. 

 “And that’s why these eco-fascist narratives that are cultivated in these online subcultures are so dangerous.”

Such theories are often propagated in fringe sites such as 4chan, 8chan, and the now-defunct Iron March forum, as well as more mainstream platforms such as Twitter. 

Researchers noticed an increase in eco-fascist interest within fringe online communities after each of the previous killing sprees.  

Is there a place for eco-fascism and politics? 

Right-wing populists have Climate change has been embraced historically denial, but are increasingly seeing potential in capitalizing on climate change concerns.

Marine Le Pen

Marine Le Pen used environmentalism as a part of her nationalist campaigns

One famous example is that the Attorney General of Arizona, who had previously misrepresented climate science, used environmental protection to sue the Biden administration for allowing immigration laws to be relaxed. He claimed that Latin American immigrants would pollute the environment, consume resources, emit greenhouse gases, and pollute the atmosphere if they weren’t prevented from entering the US by a wall with Mexico.

Europe Marine Le Pen invoked climate changeher nationalist campaigns for environmental protection, while the youth wing is part of Germany’s far-right Climate skeptical AfD partyAppelled on the party embrace climate changeAs a powerful recruitment tool. 

Canadian climate activist and author Naomi Klein spoke to the “HuffPost”.“There is a rage in the world that is going to go somewhere. We have demagogues who can direct that rage at those most vulnerable of us while protecting the most powerful, most culpable.”

Nazi origins for eco-fascism

Although made up of various strands of far-right theories, much eco-fascist ideology has its roots in early Nazi movements and the fascist party in Italy.

“In Germany, they would use these environmental talking points to partially justify some of their key initiatives like Lebensraum,” Thomas said. Lebensraum was a Nazi settler-colonialist idea of creating “living spaces” for Germans.

An apple tree

Nationalist communities have been attracted to the ‘heritage” appeal of organic produce.

“They saw the presence non-Germans as a threat simultaneously for the integrity of the German culture, and the German environment.”

That ideology led to to the 1935 Reichsnaturschutzgesetz, Germany’s first conservation laws, as well as a push for organic farming. 

Some elements of the far right scene in Germany and Europe still support environmental causes and organic farming. In Germany, environmental groups risk being Infiltrated and controlled by far-right extremists

Thomas said there are similarities in the drivers toward eco-fascism today. In Nazi Germany and fascist Italy people saw that industrialization and capitalism brought rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, and displacement of rural communities.

In the United States, far-right figures, including Richard Spencer, have used environmental concerns to justify their beliefs. The 2017 election is just around the corner Charlottesville rally of Unite the RightHe included a large section on the protection of nature in his online screed.

He stated previously that “population reduction and control” is the best way to combat the ravages of climate changes.

Environmentalists reject far-right ideology

Crowds of people on a street

Emissions-causing factors include overconsumption and underpopulation.

The mainstream environmentalist movement, which tends to embrace social justice, has repeatedly rejected ecofascists. It claims that the ideology greenwashes hate, and is more concerned with white supremacy than protecting the environment.

They also say that the major perpetrator of ecological destruction are wealthy, western nations, and not the people the eco-fascists seek to destroy. A United Nations analysis found that wealth increases are more important than population growth. A greater driver of resource-use

According to the IPCC, there are effect of population growth is dwarfed by the rise in emissions per person. Despite having slower population growth, people in the richest countries emit 50 percent more carbon dioxide than those in the least developed.

Instead, environmentalists call for a decoupling between population growth and resource usage and emissions through reorganizing economies and adopting sustainable practices.

Edited by Jennifer Collins

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