The COVID-19 pandemic has invigorated debate about the impact of human activity on the health of our planet.
With flights grounded and roads nearly empty, air pollution has tumbled.
Cities are being reimagined to reduce emissions and better protect cyclists.
Discussion of preserving the short-term environmental perks of lockdowns is entirely legitimate. It’s taking place at the highest levels.
But the narrative on social media has taken this one step further.
— Antonio Paris (@AntonioParis) March 18, 2020
Posts suggesting that COVID-19 is the “cure” to a human “virus” shift discussion from the immediate benefits of reduced activity, to a suggestion that these justify the human cost.
However well-intentioned many of the posts have been, this shift opens the door to a far-right ideology called “ecofascism”.
Eco-fascism argues that humans are overburdening the planet and that some populations are more of a problem than others.
Proponents argue that the solution is to create “racially pure” nations to restore the natural order.
Legitimate concerns about resource consumption, rising temperatures and population density are twisted to provide a veneer of legitimacy for racist and anti-semitic beliefs.