A term that never gained much popularity yet managed to survive for more than a century, ecofascism is a theoretical political model where an authoritarian government requires individuals to sacrifice their own interests for the benefit of the environment, particularly climate change.
People often get confused between ecofascism and ecoterrorism, two terms which are often used interchangeably. Ecofascism is related to the formation of a totalitarian government for the betterment of the environment whereas ecoterrorism simply means violent acts carried out for environmental purposes.
Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier, in their book Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience stated that ecofascism has existed since the time of the Nazis whose interests were “linked with traditional agrarian romanticism and hostility to urban civilization”.
Ted Kaczynski, popularly known as the Unabomber, instigated a terrorist bombing campaign against the industrial society as he suggested that the environment would be better off if humanity returned to a primitive state. Savitri Devi, Garrett Hardin, Pentti Linkola, The Third Way political party in United Kingdom, Libertarian National Socialist Party, Neo-nazi umbrella groups such as The Base are some names of individuals and organizations who have been in support of ecofascism over time.
“What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.” – Lifeboat ethics, a metaphor stated by Pentti Linkola and Garrett Hardin became one of the core principles of ecofascism.
Richard Walther Darré coined the term ‘Blood and Soil’ which was a concept of the nation having a mystic connection with their homeland thus the nation was duty bound to take care of the land. This is one of the major reasons why ecofascists blame immigrants. #EFDS, an acronym which stands for Ecofascists Death Squad, is extremely popular in the online community, often used by ecofascists to propagate their beliefs.
On 15th March, 2019, a single gunman entered two mosques consecutively in Christchurch, New Zealand and killed 51 people during prayer time. On 3rd August, 2019, a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas and killed 23 people. Both these gunmen were ecofascists who believed that the solution was to decrease the number of people using resources. As mentioned in their manifestos they had posted online before the shootings, they blamed immigrants and people of colour for environmental destruction.
To eco-fascists, the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, a white woman murdered by an illegal immigrant, is not an isolated act of villainy but confirmation that people leaving their own migrating to developed nations will lead to the downfall of white people.They believe that white people are necessary to protect the white-inhabited natural spaces.
In the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of ecofascists across the globe because no matter how much we put it off, climate change is a grave threat that needs to be addressed. Since the governments are not doing much about it, people think that it is up to them to try and curb the problem of climate change, thereby enabling them to bring more and more people to believe that this is the only solution since no one could have come up with a better solution.
Furthermore, with easy access to the internet, the reach of people spreading ideals about ecofascism has increased which may have been a factor in the increased shooting as theyv feel that they have to prove themselves to others and spread the reach of ecofascism by grabbing the attention of others.
A theory that has surfaced in lieu of the current pandemic is that coronavirus will serve as a ‘cure’ by eliminating a percentage of the population thereby curbing overpopulation to some extent. Due to lockdown in most continents, carbon emissions have significantly decreased due to fall in air travel, road traffic and industrial activity.
Additionally, reduction in outdoor human activity has allowed the animals to return to their natural habitats and even in urban areas which seems to further insinuate the idea that humans are the main problem.
The solution to the climate crisis, according to this ideology, is the creation of “racially pure” nations to restore a sustainable system however 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity is already in indigenous territories and it is proven that local people can achieve better conservation at a fraction of the cost of alternatives.
It is necessary for us to emphasize on human diversity for conservation and therefore reject ecofascism. We have to do it now because those who live most differently to us have some of the best answers about how to live at all.
Written by Nishka for The Connectere