On Monday, the Environmental Defense Fund released a report that concluded that environmental groups are exploiting “ecocide” by attempting to create an “ecological” narrative that ignores the damage done to nature and the climate by industrial activities and “greenwashing.”
The report is the latest in a string of attacks against environmental activists.
The report comes amid an increasingly bitter climate crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people killed by storms and wildfires, the deadliest on record.
The Trump administration has made a number of moves to roll back environmental regulations, including one last week to rollback the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s clean-coal rule that helped lower CO2 emissions by nearly half a million metric tons.
But a new report released Monday by the Environmental Justice Center says that the Trump administration and other groups are actively trying to create “ecocidal narratives” that will distract from the harm they do to the environment.
“We believe the Trump Administration is intentionally using the term ‘ecocide’ to describe environmental groups, even as it is working to roll out a series of executive orders to weaken environmental protections and undermine our ability to regulate polluters, including the fossil fuel industry,” wrote David Boaz, the group’s executive director, and others.
The new report, titled “An Ethical Ecocide: How Environmental Activists Are Destroying the Planet,” argues that environmentalists are engaging in “an intentional and widespread form of environmental genocide” and argue that the term should be reserved for actions that destroy a person’s health, livelihoods and communities.
The study cites the case of a Chinese-American woman named Li Wei, who was shot and killed by police while sitting in her car in Seattle, Washington, in November, 2018.
Li’s family and environmental advocacy groups have repeatedly questioned the validity of police reports that claimed Li was threatening to kill officers, but she was not.
Instead, the report claims Li was “targeted” by officers because she is Chinese-Canadian, a woman who “is frequently targeted by law enforcement in China.”
The Washington Post reported in October that Li’s mother was threatened by a local sheriff after she reported her daughter missing.
The same day, Li’s body was found by police.
A police report stated that officers had a “possible relationship” with Li and that “it is suspected Li was shot by the officers.”
A number of prominent environmental activists have also faced threats and death threats in recent months, including members of the Environmental Defence Fund, the Sierra Club, the Earthjustice Center, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, the Pacific Institute for Environmental Studies and others, according to the report.
The Environmental Justice Project is the largest environmental legal organization in the country, with more than 150,000 members nationwide.
The group has been critical of the Trump presidency, especially its attempts to roll Back to Work legislation, an attempt to dismantle environmental protections in states that have adopted it.
The bill, which would eliminate many environmental protections, has been opposed by many conservatives, including President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“The Trump Administration and its allies in Congress have deliberately and deliberately created an ethical ecological genocide narrative that focuses on the harms of climate change, while ignoring the destruction of our natural environments, our health, and the lives of countless people,” the report states.
“This deliberate and systematic campaign is the height of ecocide.”
The environmental justice group called on Congress to pass legislation to outlaw environmental genocide, arguing that efforts to use the term to describe the crimes of environmental activists “undermine the credibility of our legal system, undermine our capacity to enforce environmental laws, and create a climate of fear.”
“The United States has a long tradition of environmental justice advocacy and the legal system protects us from its effects,” the statement said.
“But this term, which is commonly used to describe crimes against the environment and other rights, is being used by the Trump and Trump-aligned forces to create a false equivalence between environmental harm and the crimes committed by environmental activists.”
The group also called for “the establishment of an independent, nonpartisan, nonpartisan commission to investigate and prosecute crimes against environmental rights, and for the establishment of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as an independent agency dedicated to environmental justice.”
The Trump Administration has said it will not seek to repeal the Clean Air Act, but has said the Clean Water Act and the Clean Food and Drug Act, which protect the environment, should be retained in their current form.