Eco-fascism featured in El Paso terrorism suspect’s alleged manifesto

The racist rant calls for mass killings to make America more ‘sustainable.’ Other terrorists have done the same.

 

This article was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

A manifesto posted online shortly before Saturday’s massacre at a Walmart in El Paso that the suspected shooter may have written blamed immigrants for hastening the environmental destruction of the United States and proposed genocide as a pathway to ecological sustainability.

Filled with white nationalist diatribes against “race-mixing” and the “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” the manifesto highlights far-right extremists’ budding revival of eco-fascism. 

Titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” an allusion to Al Gore’s landmark climate change documentary, the ranting four-page document appeared on the extremist forum 8chan shortly before the shooting. Authorities have yet to confirm whether Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old Dallas-area white man arrested in connection with the shooting that left at least 22 dead, is the author.

“The environment is getting worse by the year,” the manifesto reads. “Most of y’all are just too stubborn to change your lifestyle. So the next logical step is to decrease the number of people in America using resources. If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.” 

HuffPost reviewed the document but, with consideration to the ethical concerns of broadcasting what might be a notoriety-seeking killer’s messaging, is not publishing a link to it. 

The manifesto explicitly cites the 74-page message posted online by the gunman charged with killing 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March. That alleged shooter, Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old white Australian, thrice described himself as an “eco-fascist” motivated to repel waves of migrants fleeing climate change-ravaged regions of the world. 

A shooting at a shopping complex in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, 2019, left at least 20 people dead. The city, shown here at sunset, borders Juárez, Mexico, seen in the distance.

For years now, denial served as the extreme right’s de facto position on climate change. That is starting to change. 

Just look, as Dissent magazine did in May, at this spring’s European elections. Following the European Green Party’s historic gains, the far-right Alternative for Germany’s youth wing in Berlin urged party leaders to abandon the “difficult to understand statement that mankind does not influence the climate,” an issue that moves “more people than we thought.” 

In France, the far-right National Rally already took the message to heart. The party, led by Marine Le Pen, vowed to remake Europe as “the world’s first ecological civilization” with a climate platform rooted in nationalism. Le Pen railed against “nomadic” people who “do not care about the environment” as “they have no homeland,” harkening to the Nazis’ “blood and soil” slogan that, as The Guardian put it, described a belief in a mystical connection between race and a particular territory. Under that logic, “borders are the environment’s greatest ally,” as a National Rally party spokesman said in April.

In the United States, 70% of Americans recognize the climate is warming, and 57% understand humans’ emissions are the cause, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication polling shows. Republicans, long the only major political party in the developed world to outright reject climate science, are inching away from denialism but have yet to rally around a popular policy proposal. 

“Someday Republicans are going to have to come up with some proposals that are responsive to these issues and, frankly, be more reasonable and more thoughtful,” Scott Jennings, a Republican consultant and a former campaign adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), told The New York Times last week. 

More than 65 million people are displaced worldwide right now, marking ― depending on how you count it ― the highest number of refugees in history. Climate change is forecast to inflame the crisis. Catastrophic weather forced 24 million people to flee home per year since 2008, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, the Swiss-based international organization. By 2050, that number could hit anywhere from 140 million to 300 million to 1 billion. Drought, rising seas and violent storms could compel upward of 143 million people to leave sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America alone by the middle of the century, the World Bank estimated last year. 

Slashing global greenhouse gases and increasing aid to help poor countries close to the equator adapt is the obvious way to change that trajectory. The Green New Deal framework left-wing climate activists put forward late last year gained international popularity in part because its promise of good-paying jobs and meaningful work as a vehicle for wealth redistribution and ecological stability offers a powerful antidote to the toxic elixir of far-right prescriptions to social unrest. 

But as planet-heating emissions continue surging and scientists’ projections grow more dire, eco-fascism is experiencing a revival in a subculture of far-right extremism online. It comes amid a rekindled interest in Ted Kaczynski, the convicted terrorist known as the Unabomber. 

Kaczynski ― like his newfound online fandom, who often distinguish themselves with pine-tree emoji on social media ― subscribes to “lifeboat ethics.” The term, coined in the 1970s by the neoconservative ecologist Garrett Hardin, denotes the idea that “traditional humanitarian views of the ‘guilt-ridden,’ ‘conscience-stricken’ liberal” threatens the balance of nature. The belief traces its lineage back to 18th-century English philosopher Thomas Malthus, who theorized that population growth would eclipse the availability of resources to meet basic human needs without moral restraint or widespread disease, famine or war to thin the herd.  

In September 2017, the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance asked its readers a question: “What does it mean for whites if climate change is real?” The bombastic essay wondered whether the “population explosion in the global south combined with climate change” demonstrated “the single greatest external threat to Western civilization” ― even “more serious than Islamic terrorism or Hispanic illegal immigration.” 

“If continued global change makes the poor, non-white parts of the world even more unpleasant to live in than they are now, it will certainly drive more non-whites north,” Jared Taylor, the publication’s editor and an influential white nationalist, wrote in an email to the magazine Jewish Currents. “I make no apology for ... urging white nations to muster the will to guard their borders and maintain white majorities.”

Two years later, white, male gunmen appear to be heeding his call. 

Alexander Kaufman is reporter at HuffPost, based in New York. He covers climate change, environmental policy and politics. Email High Country News at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor.

High Country News Classifieds
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • ARIZONA PROGRAM MANAGER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks an Arizona Program Manager. The Arizona Program Manager works...
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
  • ASSISTANT FARM DIRECTOR
    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!