Stop the greening of hate: Video and environmental anti-racism pledge developed by the Center for New Community
Bigotry. That isn’t the first word that comes to mind when one thinks about environmentalism, but green bigotry is real and growing. A web of individuals, groups and funders who identify themselves as environmentalists are dividing the environmental movement and moving it away from solutions that are inclusive of diverse communities.
The good news is we can take a stand against the greening of hate.
We, the undersigned environmental leaders and activists, pledge that:
- We will embrace diversity and reject racism as we confront the serious environmental challenges before us.
- We will not adopt the message that immigrants are the cause of environmental problems.
- We will actively support the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees.
- We will solve our environmental problems and the challenges facing our society through the energy, vision, and commitment of all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin.
We pledge to resist the growing infiltration of our movement by white nationalist forces, including those under the umbrella of the John Tanton Network. Organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), NumbersUSA, Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), Carrying Capacity Network, Apply the Brakes Network and Negative Population Growth (NPG) are scapegoating immigrants for rising pollution, urban sprawl, carbon emissions and even the BP oil spill as a way to build support among environmentalists for repressive anti-immigrant legislation. Crafted by FAIR, Arizona’s draconian SB 1070 law is the latest example.
There is no place for this greening of hate in our movement. Xenophobia divides us when we need to come together to build a broad and diverse coalition for an equitable, effective energy, resource and climate policy for the United States. Civil and human rights and environmental protection must go hand in hand if we are to find solutions to urgent problems such as the current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
We must not be fooled by the racist environmentalism that attacks immigrant communities and that is rooted in fears of overpopulation. The anti-immigrant forces promoting these views claim that by increasing U.S. population growth, immigrants are responsible for the country’s environmental ills. The relationship between population growth and the environment is not just about sheer numbers of people. It is complex, context-specific and contingent on many social, economic and cultural factors. In many areas of the country, urban sprawl is increasing while population is decreasing. The main causes of sprawl are poor land-use planning, zoning regulations, and tax laws.
Over the last 60 years, the rise in U.S. carbon emissions has fast outpaced population growth. It is not individual consumption that is the main driver of emissions, but wasteful, fossil-fuel based industrial, energy, and transport systems. Yet FAIR and others argue it is immigrants who are to blame–people who should stay put and stay poor in their home countries where they consume less energy than if they lived in the U.S.
This environmentalism represents a new and dangerous form of eco-politics. It is an eco-politics that acknowledges energy constraints, resource depletion, and climate change as scientific phenomena, but its response — to keep out immigrants — denies the possibility of effective solutions. Border fences, racial profiling, and mandatory identity cards will not cap carbon or prevent oil spills. Nor will they bring about the necessary transition to renewable energy and a green economy. Instead, this version of environmentalism desperately wants to promote an American dream of unlimited consumption— for whites only.
There is a need for a new American dream founded on the principles of sustainability, opportunity, and fairness.
This vision acknowledges that immigrants and refugees amongst us are also spearheading movements for ecological and economic renewal. Rather than our adversaries in the fight for environmental sustainability, these are our allies, co-workers, friends and colleagues. We will not stand by while they are targeted and attacked by white nationalist forces simply because these forces name themselves as environmentalists.
The urgency of the climate crisis means there is no time to lose. It is time to say a resounding NO to the greening of hate and a resounding YES to the building of a democratic and diverse environmental movement.