Monday, August 12, 2019

Not What I Usually Expect From Concerned Scientists on a Monday Morning

One of the many emails I look forward to on Monday mornings is the bulletin of the Union of Atomic Scientists, a body mainly known for maintaining the Doomsday Clock.

This week's bulletin was a bit out of the ordinary. The first feature is about white nationalism's solution to climate change - a world with a whole lot fewer brown people.

Full disclosure - I've been writing for some time that Canada's bitumen barons are tolerated, indeed supported, because, at the moment, climate change is predominantly a scourge for the little brown people, living in distant lands that are typically impoverished and exceedingly vulnerable. If the front ranks were full of white people of European heritage would we be quite so blase about bitumen and the toll it will exact? Try to be honest.

The white man charged with killing 22 people in El Paso on Saturday is believed to be the author of a racist “manifesto” posted shortly before the shooting rampage. The hate-filled screed described a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and warned that white Americans are being “replaced” by foreigners. The manifesto also sounded a growing theme in far-right rhetoric: that nonwhite people are responsible for environmental problems ranging from litter to climate change.

The forced marriage of white supremacy and environmentalism is not new (Adolf Hitler, for one, advocated both racial and environmental purity), but once again it is birthing ugly “solutions,” from shunning refugees to ethnic cleansing. Even those on the far right who don’t “believe” in climate change are happy to jump on the environmental bandwagon. As the far-right author and media pundit Ann Coulter tweeted last year, “I’m fine with pretending to believe in global warming if we can save our language, culture and borders.” 
In an article about white nationalists discovering the environment, The Atlantic explains the manifesto writer’s mentality:
The American lifestyle is destroying the environment, the author declares. But the answer is not to ask native-born white Americans to change their ways. It is to rid the country of Latinos. 
It is not brown-skinned immigrants who are primarily responsible for environmental degradation, though. In fact, climate change and other environmental crises are driving migration, not the other way around.
As The Atlantic reminds readers, “Large corporations and the wealthy consume the most environmental resources, not poor immigrants.” 
Population growth is, of course, contributing to climate change, along with rising affluence and per-capita consumption. But rather than tackling any of these issues, the manifesto’s author proposes genocide: “If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can become more sustainable.”
Writing in The Nation, Jeet Heer describes how eco-fascism may find a toehold in US politics: 
This combination of a white nationalism with angst about the prospects for human survival is a perfect recipe for radicalizing young right-wingers and taking Trumpian themes to a new level of extremism. Instead of the merely restorationist day-dream of “making American great again,” the extreme right is using social media agitprop and the propaganda of the deed to harden young white Americans for a global race war fought over diminishing resources. The very real dangers of climate change provide race war fantasists the dystopian background they need to give urgency to their violent agenda.
While left-leaning environmentalists have become increasing tolerant of immigration, The Atlantic notes that “opposition to immigration plays an ever-greater role in defining the conservative movement.” Among registered Republican voters, immigration is viewed as the country’s most important problem. A growing number of young Republicans, however, view climate change as a top priority. Eco-fascists want to connect those dots.
I want to clarify that my past remarks were not to suggest that our governments' inexcusable support for the Bitumen Barons is grounded in racism. Our Parliament and legislatures are not out to cleanse the world for the white race. Their sin is to look the other way, to ignore the harm - the dislocation, the suffering, the death - that fossil fuels, especially the really dirty, high-carbon, low-value stuff - are inflicting and will continue to cause to people who just happen to be poor, vulnerable and almost invariably brown.


Anonymous said...

Bringing in millions of immigrants from low carbon footprint countries into high carbon emitting countries is insanity and needs to stop.

But we can't say anything less we get blasted with that dreaded "R" word.

The Mound of Sound said...

But your "high carbon emitting" country that is primarily responsible for the plight of these "low carbon emitting" countries should just turn its back to them. Yeah, that qualifies for a big "R".

Anonymous said...

Is that so? Care to explain how China (largest emitter) is primarily responsible for their plight?

Oh, you must be talking about America. Do you truly believe they are responsible for India's (the third largest carbon footprint and a large source of immigrants) plight as well?

What about Russia? Call Mueller, I'm sure the Americans are responsible for their emissions as well.

You post some interesting articles Mound but in the end you're fool or a coward, unwilling to face facts when our planet is dying.

Let me spell this out for you one last time. If you take 100k people out of Zimbabwe and place them in the GTA it's not good for the environment. Regardless of whether you want to blame America or the white man for Zimbabwe being a failed state you bleeding heart eternal boomer.

The Mound of Sound said...

I always take it to heart when some anonymouse calls anyone else cowardly.

I won't defend China's or India's emissions. This has been their crash course in Industrial Revolution 101. That said, most of the atmospheric loading plaguing the world today was amassed over the course of about two centuries when the Western world industrialized. That's on us, not them.

We should also recall who kickstarted China's industrial revolution. It was largely Western interests chasing cheap labour and relaxed environmental regulation. We built our crap over there and lined every WalMart shelf with the stuff. Our hands are not clean when it comes to their pollution and neither are theirs.

You indulge in pretty selective facts. Nowhere have you addressed the ugly racism of white nationalism or the 'forced marriage, of white supremacy and environmentalism. If you're looking for cowardice get a mirror.

For what it's worth I don't think that immigration will significantly alleviate what's coming. The would-be host nations don't have the resources for that, something I have pointed out repeatedly.

For example, I expect we will see greatly increased migration out of Central America during the 2020s. You can't get through the Darien Gap on foot so the only way out is north, to the US. However the United States will be dealing with its own climate impacts by then that could give the States their first taste of IDPs or Internally Displaced People who, due to heatwaves, floods, droughts, severe weather events, the depletion of groundwater resources or sea level rise may be compelled to relocate within the US. Once that process begins will America simply abandoned its own? I hope not but we'll see soon enough. I suspect this will ensure that America will have to choose between it's own displaced and those coming out of the south. That, however, is a separate although related matter to the ugliness of the white supremacy/eco-fascism you defend.

Purple library guy said...

It should be noted, however, that some of the bitumen barons are underwriting some of the white supremacists and they ought to be made to answer for it.

Purple library guy said...

As the the carbonization of immigration -- I don't actually see a lot of Indian immigrants lately. Most of the immigration to the EU comes from countries which have been destabilized by NATO wars or NATO allies--Iraq, Libya, Syria, bet there's a fair chunk coming from Yemen by now. Most of the immigration to certain wealthy North American countries comes from Latin American and Caribbean countries immiserated by US and, yes, Canadian interventions. Haiti and Honduras in particular we bear a good share of the blame for. If we manage to break Venezuela there will be Canadian fingerprints all over the body right next to the American ones and there will be a massive wave of immigrants from there as we toast their brand new Yale-educated "democratic" dictator and pretend the two things have nothing to do with each other.

So if we want fewer low-carbon people immigrating to high-carbon countries, maybe we should try leaving them the fuck alone. But we can't, because our high-carbon lifestyle depends on grabbing their stuff, and grabbing their stuff requires regimes which will go along with that, and such regimes inevitably have narrow support bases because the locals don't want their stuff grabbed. So there's instability, and every so often we have to juice up the violence so the locals don't get uppity. And then we get people running for their lives to somewhere that isn't happening--i.e., here.
And of course, now it's too late to just leave them alone. Our climate change is going to fuck them over so bad that even if we stop directly messing with them they'll still be heading for the hills.

Anonymous said...

3:08...I second your comment Mound. Anyong

Owen Gray said...

The sin here is a sin of ommision, Mound. As you say, our governments are turning away, refusing to do what they know must be sone.