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Cover The Politics of the Earth

11. Backlash  

Gray Radicalism

This chapter analyzes an anti-environmental discourse that can be understood as a profound reaction against environmentalism in its entirety. This anti-environmental “gray radicalism,” especially prominent under the Trump presidency in the United States, entails climate change denial, but is much more than that, drawing on populism, extreme conservatism, nationalism, and (in the US) evangelical Christianity. It is opposed to technological progress that would for example replace coal with renewable energy. This chapter locates gray radicalism in relation to right-wing partisan identity, expands on its differences with Promethean discourse, and details how it can be enmeshed in broader “culture wars.” Because gray radicalism is a matter of fundamental identity for its subscribers, it can be difficult to engage through evidence and argument.