Dismantling Eco-Fascism

Please turn on “Dark Mode” for the best reading experience!

A counter-memory game

We came together in this workshop to discuss the meaning and forms of eco-fascism, and what it might take to oppose and overcome it. We found that eco-fascism has many dimensions: From right-wing nationalist ecology, to the lifeboat ethic and overpopulation narratives that even parts of the left sometimes promote, to rabid fascists who call ecological movements “eco-fascist,” to eugenicist narratives about covid, and the willingness of some to try to decide who has the right to live and who has the right to die; to the history and present of forced sterilization by colonialist and racist regimes deciding who has the right to reproduce – and so on, to the exploitation of migrants left to suffer or die in the workplace or at sea. 


Eco-fascism has many facets. And the “eco” in it always refers to both ecology and economy, as capitalism is intertwined with colonialism in defining what life – and whose home – is valued.


In our workshop, we talked about the importance of memory in understanding how many worlds and lives have been destroyed in the past, and by whom. To remember that when we panic about the destruction of ecosystems, we’re preceded by a long line of peoples and communities that have been plundered, cleansed, destroyed, poisoned – sometimes by our ancestors. For so many people in the majority world, catastrophe is ancestral. Beyond the guilt this can cause, we need ways to see connections and build solidarities that never forget where we are, where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. And for all this we need memory and counter-memory. That is why we ended up making a memory game, with pairs of cards that reflect different aspects of eco-fascism and different ways of exposing and opposing it. Often we don’t see eco-fascism at first because it claims to protect life: until it becomes clear that eco-fascism is always about valuing one life over another. We have enough memory and presence to resist.


Join us in flipping through these cards, an unfinished and open repository – where different memories connect, not just in pairs, but in chains and webs. See what cards you can connect as you flip through, and how there’s always more than two aspects to the story. This is an invitation to play and talk with others!


Eco-fascism is a political ideology and mobilization practice that emphasizes the preservation and protection of nature as an end in itself. It is based on the fetishization of nature as a fragile entity in need of strong protection. Its key feature is militarism in various forms and a cult of violence to achieve its conservationist goals. Eco-fascism necessarily entails the construction of an authoritarian political and social space in which hierarchies are constructed and strictly enforced through actual and symbolic violence. A key element of eco-fascism is population control, either through biopolitical control of births or through genocide to reduce the impact of humans on nature. Genocidal impulses are directed at non-white races, and as such eco-fascism is inseparable from white supremacy. 


A typical target of eco-fascists is migrants, refugees, and indigenous populations, in the belief that these groups of people contribute greatly to environmental degradation and overpopulation. Ethnonationalism is embedded in the eco-fascist worldview, legitimizing racial and ethnic dominance, but it is also rooted in the long history of Eurocentrism and European colonial genocide. Periodically, eco-fascism inspires acts of terrorism and mass murder, which are in fact symptoms of the logic of extermination that underlies the movement. Eco-fascism is a romantic, revolutionary, anti-modern ideology that is highly skeptical of technology and modern urban life, and seems to advocate a return to simpler forms of life and coexistence, while at the same time rejecting the traditional ways of life of indigenous populations as a source of danger to nature.

Displacement and extermination

Central element of eco-fascism that seeks to preserve the environment by exterminating those deemed dangerous to the environment, selected based on the criteria of those in power - displacing local communities, flora and fauna to create nature reserves that suit their ideas and wishes for use.


A core element of eco-fascism is the idea that resources are limited and that overpopulation is a significant threat to the environment and human society.


The process of optimizing areas for tourist consumption. Touristification can lead to displacement and is sometimes tied to conditional conservation aid.

(?:alisa) ? tell (?:please) ?love story

Voice: once a ladle was driving through the mountains. It was necessary for him to dig a hole for the construction of an oil rig. Suddenly he sees an eagle is sitting. "Why are you sitting here?", asks the ladder. "I am guarding" the eagle says. / What are you guarding? / I don't know myself. 200 years ago a wise man put me here and ordered me to protect. "So you wings must be numb -says the laddle. -Let's at least take a look at what you have been guarding for so many years". The eagle agreed the laddle began to dig and suddenly sparks flew all over. And they saw a box of incredible beauty. There were plenty of kindness, plenty of courtesy and the word "love". Where is the second "love"?", says the eagle. I love that you are freeing me. Since then they lived happily. Everyone says that it is a strange couple, but stranger things happen in the world.
read more

Elephants, Leopards, Rhinos, Lions, and Buffalo

Wildlife conservation can endanger indigenous populations. It can echo eco-fascist discourse of regarding "the environment" higher than certain populations.
Read interview


Eco-fascism is being also re-produced by some fascist states that engage in environmental challenges through authoritarian measures, and push forwards the trajectory of oppression against gender, race and class. For example, Islamic Republic against oil region with its Khouzestani population in Iran.
read more

Ecofascist imaginations about labour

“If you comply, we’ll keep them at bay and secure your job and ecosystem.”

Militarization and Weapons

Ecofascism governs with the help of military or militarized police. Environmental protection as well as the policing of struggles around environmental problems are 'solved' with weapons, counterinsurgency tactics and military means.
read more

Carbon Colonialism

Carbon Credits is a way for the Global North to hide its carbon emissions and environmental impacts in the Global South, creating monocultures and exploiting locals, often in countries that are endebted to Northern Countries
read more
Eco-fascist ideologies tend to favor authoritarian or totalitarian forms of government that can enforce their environmental and ethnocentric policies. They call for strong centralized control over resources, economies, and societies to achieve their vision.

Land Struggles

Indigenous land struggles are often confronted with militarized repression.
read more

Conditional Aid

Tying aid to conservation practices is a problematic policy option.

Eco-destructive elites fuelling hate

UK Prime minister Rishi Sunak delays ban on new gas and diesel cars and waters down climate goals because they impose and 'impossible cost' on 'ordinary people'. Politicians pitting 'ordinary people' against climate activists are fuelling a climate of ecofascism, whereby ironically sometimes activists are called 'ecofascists' by reactionaries.
Sunak's family invested in Shell; his wife has 690 million GBP invested in the fossil fuel firm Infosys; between january and march 2023, Sunak and his ministers met with fossil fuel companies 54 times

Population and Eugenics

Ecofascists like to describe Covid-19 as "earth's vaccine" against suprlus populations (defined by them as brown and black people)
Far-righters who talk decry a 'population replacement' whereby indigenous people are supposedly replaced by migrants; in fact it's them who want to replace the existing population to reduce its diversity

Ecofascist discourse and the border

Key part of fascist discourse is about legitimizing hate and death. Fascist editor and ideological figurehead Götz Kubitschek puts it this way: 'We need to push the boundaries of what seems still just about OK to say'. Eco-fascism too works towards duscursive shifts whereby dehumanization, violence, racism and carelessness seem ever more legitimate. In a context of ecological crisis, ecofascism demands ever more violence against migrants at the border and in workplaces.
In a context of climate crisis and increased numbers of refugees coming across the Mediterranean, in autumn 2023, ex-German president Joachim Hauck said: "We need to discover possibilities that we might initially dislike because they seem inhumane". That sounds suspiciously like what fascist AFD party leader Bjoern Hoecke said in 2018: "Existential crises demand extraordinary action (...). We won't get around a politics of 'well-tempered cruelty' for that, I'm afraid". That's fascist legitimizations of violence passing from far right party to conservative party discourse, within a space of few years.

Workers lives are dispensable to capital

BREAKING NEWS: Shooting of Zimbabwe workers by Chinese mine owner shows ‘systemic’ abuse, watchdog says (CNN 2020) BREAKING NEWS: 45 workers at South African mine shot by police (Wikipedia)
BREAKING NEWS: More than 6,500 workers have died in Qatar since World Cup was awarded (The Guardian, 2021)

A paradox

The number of people warning about environmental danger to civilisation seems to be growing exponentially, but white people occupy eighty-nine per cent of leadership positions in environmental organizations. Environmental racism and environmental injustice are still major issues within climate action.

Twin flames

Data is the new oil Data Centers are the new Refineries



The ‘Dismantling Eco-Fascism’ workshop consisted of: Katrin Kämpf, Jennifer Kamau, Claudia Núñez, Marta Peirano, Florin Poenaru, Kübra Tokuç, Niloufar Vadiati, Manuela Zechner, Dzina Zhuk.


This project was conceived at the Berliner Gazette’s annual conference 2023 entitled ALLIED GROUNDS.


All text and images: Creative Commons License 4.0 (CC-BY 4.0). All images were taken at the ALLIED GROUNDS conference.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *