One week ago, more than 4,500 climate strikes rallied across 150 countries ahead of this week's U.N. Climate Action Summit for the purpose of holding lawmakers accountable for aggressive action on climate change's imminent threat to humanity.
Considering the United States is the only country on the planet with a political party (Republican) that makes climate science denial an official position, most might classify climate change a "liberal" issue.
Many would also agree today's youth are the most vociferous in the charge for climate action.
Few, however, know there are some groups with less-than-honorable intentions seeking to take advantage of their sensitivity.
The gunman who murdered scores at a Christchurch, New Zealand mosque earlier this year stated in his 74-page online manifesto he used to be "a communist, then an anarchist and finally a libertarian before coming to be an eco-fascist."
"Eco-fascist" is a term the right is latching onto in a deliberate ploy to lure younger climate activists who might be otherwise inclined to support more progressive lawmakers and policies like the Green New Deal.
In March, when the world was reeling from the Christchurch massacre, Trump administration spokesperson Kellyanne Conway jumped at the chance to link "eco-fascism" to liberals and progressives.
She was wrong in that association.
But eco-fascists' presence--and danger--is very real, particularly via social media.
It is what Hampshire College professor emerita, Betsy Hartmann, calls "the greening of hate."
As Jason Wilson wrote in his Guardian op-ed, "Eco-fascism is undergoing a revival in the fetid culture of the extreme right":
"Unfortunately for Conway, Nazism and a twisted version of ecological thinking are joined in the minds of a share of rightwing extremists. In social media and the more secretive spaces of the online far right, eco-fascists are proselytising for genocidal solutions to environmental problems."
Journalist Jake Hanrahan describes the "pine tree gang" on Twitter promoting ideas that meld a belief in impending environmental catastrophe with white nationalist ideology.
In 2018, Vice reported neo-Nazi groups like The Base that boast eco-fascist adherents who use predictions of environmental holocaust to justify violent and even genocidal "solutions," claiming to be concerned about human overpopulation, mass migration, and environmental degradation.
The shooter charged with killing 22 people at an El Paso, Texas Walmart last month cited in his manifesto his despair over water pollution, plastic waste, and a consumer culture "creating a massive burden for future generations."
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