Eco-Fascism is an extremist ideology, originating on the Far Right, which lays the blame for climate change on overpopulation. Eco-Fascists want to stop overpopulation through mass murder or forced sterilization of “undesirable” people. They usually define these people as immigrants, inhabitants of developing countries, or other marginalized groups.
I’m not going to waste time explaining why this ideology is evil. If you can’t figure that out, you have an ethical issue that my blog simply can’t address. But there is a huge misconception that, because the ideology originated on the Right, that it remained there. Many of the underlying ideas and premises of Eco-Fascism, exist on the Left as well, particularly the myth of overpopulation. Wherever it is found, Eco-Fascism must be stopped.
Eco-Fascism and the Online Left
Yesterday a tweet made the rounds which pictured a family with ten children and the caption “This is environmental terrorism.” According to tweet, having a large number of children is terrorism because humans are consumers. Now this photo was of a white family, which separates it from the typical propaganda used by Right-Wing Eco-Fascists. However, the poster made his overall opinion clear in a follow up comment when he said, “In the year 2020 literally no one should have ten kids. You’re really telling on yourself if you think I’m only talking about white people.” This is Eco-Fascism. Plain and simple.
This is only one example. Since economic shutdowns have reduced global emissions, some extremists have taken to championing the virus as evidence that population control works. The meme “We Are the Virus” has exploded on social media, showing examples of “nature healing” without the presence of destructive human beings.
The Myth of Overpopulation
Many people are unaware of the racist origins of the concept of overpopulation. Environmental groups such as The Sierra Club have been forced to reckon with their historical belief in overpopulation and support for eugenics and anti-immigration politics. While there are absolutely problems with over-consumption, poor distribution, and hording of resources, making less human beings would not solve them.
I’m a playwright, so you probably shouldn’t get your facts and figures from me. Check out this article from Vox, in which Lyman Stone, a population economics researcher, calls population growth the “least influential part of the climate change calculation.” In a follow-up article, Kelsey Piper, dives in-depth into population trends and what they mean. For my readers who want a Catholic perspective, the Population Research Institute has this useful guide for addressing all the common overpopulation arguments. TL/DR: Overpopulation is a racist myth.
Human Life is Good
There is nothing more wonderful than a human child. They are pure potential, pure wonder, and love. Our children bring out the best in us, the ability to love selflessly and to push ourselves beyond our limits. Sure, they will grow up to be just a flawed and complicated as all of us, but they can also be just as creative and powerful as we are. Human beings are the reason we need to save our world, not the disease that needs to be eliminated.
Giving in to misanthropic theories about eliminating human populations will never be the solution. And if that is your brand of environmentalism, it’s really just another brand of fascism.