Series Number: 27
The greening of hate – blaming environmental degradation on poor populations of color – is once again on the rise, both in the U.S. and overseas. In the U.S., its illogic runs like this: immigrants are the main cause of overpopulation, and overpopulation in turn causes urban sprawl, the destruction of wilderness, pollution, and so forth. Internationally, it draws on narratives that blame expanding populations of peasants and herders for encroaching on pristine nature. In the first instance, the main policy “solution” is immigration restriction; in the second it is coercive conservation, the violent exclusion of local communities from nature preserves. Both varieties of the greening of hate are about policing borders. By stressing the negative role of population growth, both target poor women’s fertility as a fundamental root of environmental evil. And both divert attention from the real forces destroying the environment.