ISE Program Director Blair Taylor was recently featured on National Public Radio’s popular program All Things Considered. He was interviewed about his research on ecofascism and right wing ecology, currently undergoing a resurgence on the right as environmental disruption becomes increasingly impossible to ignore. Social Ecology has long been a leader in criticizing racist and hierarchical responses to ecological problems, from the population obsession of the Club of Rome and Garret Hardin to the anti-immigrant sentiment expressed by deep ecologists like Dave Forman and Edward Abbey. In the 1990s, ISE affiliates Peter Staudenmaier and Janet Biehl wrote the seminal book Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience. In the segment hosted by Ari Shapiro, Taylor discusses this dark but lesser-known history of enviromental thought:
The truth is, eco-fascism has a long history, both in the U.S. and in Europe. Blair Taylor is a researcher at the Institute for Social Ecology. He said even the Nazis saw themselves as environmentalists. “The idea that natural purity translates into racial or national purity – that was one that was very central to the Nazis’ environmental discourse of blood and soil,” Taylor said. In the 90s when Taylor started reading books about the environmental movement, he stumbled upon some ideas that seemed very wrong. “There is this earlier very nativist, exclusionary and racist history of environmental thought,” Taylor said. “It was very much based on this idea of nature as a violent competitive and ultimately very hierarchical domain where, you know, white Europeans were at the top. So that’s been rediscovered, I think, by the alt-right.”
You can listen to the full 8-minute episode here.