Overpopulation Discourse: Patriarchy, Racism, and the Specter of Ecofascism

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
Jordan Dyett Westminster College

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Cassidy Thomas Westminster College

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As our current climate crises increase in severity, discussions on solutions have found themselves at the forefront of mainstream media, and talked about by political actors and economic elites. While many of these solutions may seem ethical or even the answer to our ecological problem, we must take a critical look at the root causes in order to understand what actions are necessary. Without this, our discussions fall short, and tend to negatively affect marginalized communities. Family-planning programs aimed at the suppression of certain populations is one example used when discussing how to combat overpopulation in order to alleviate climate change. This superficial, Western, capitalist-driven idea and discussion, laced with sexist and racist undertones, is the discourse we will be analyzing. By employing a critical decolonial and ecofeminist lens, we will critique this discourse, and argue that it’s an all-too-common tool of deflection and scapegoating that white environmentalism employs in order to ignore historic power relations. Further, we will illuminate historical roots and trends around the family-planning movement, such as anti-immigrant sentiment, nationalism, and ecofascism.

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