Last month, we asked you to think about embracing a radical culture of kindness. As happens seemingly more often these days, we are faced with yet another tragedy: a racially motivated mass killing in East Buffalo, New York that also promoted elements of what is coined “eco-facism” and “replacement theory”. We hold the victims of this attack in our hearts, and while it feels like hope has slipped away, we are asking that you double-down on your efforts to build a radical culture of kindness (and add in a healthy side of caring).
It is at times like these where misinformation and disinformation are so glaringly present in our culture. That there is contradiction in the very notion of eco-facism speaks to why overcoming mis- and disinformation is critical in moving forward with equitable solutions to climate change. For those of you that don’t know, eco-facism is a rhetoric and a belief that brown and Black people, BIPOC people, and immigrants are the cause of climate change—from pollution to global warming, from littering to overpopulation. This, of course, is not the case.
Those of us who do the hard work of teaching, acting, leading, and talking about climate change are advancing equity and anti-racism within the climate movement. We know through the science that developed countries such as the US and across Europe have contributed far more to climate change and ecological damage than underdeveloped, poor countries that are overwhelmingly populated with BIPOC peoples. Yet again and again, misinformation and disinformation spur not simply apathy, misdirection, and shallow hatred, but in East Buffalo motivated an extremist in his terroristic actions.
It is with a firm belief in building that culture of radical kindness that we approach these trying times: the kindness of fact-based information perhaps would, in fact, dissipate this 21st century phenomenon of extreme divergence in thinking and knowledge.
In truth, there is power.
That power can lead us away from dividing our communities, our nation, and the world by uniting us in solutions that allow us to be better caregivers of the earth, better neighbors and better citizens…because we know and understand the facts.
As you find your way in processing the violence of the past week, we hope that you lean into the kindness that is still in our world. We are grateful for youth activists that call out lies and speak to the remedies needed for a just future for all of us. We are grateful to the teachers reaching out to us for support and community as education increasingly becomes a battleground of ideology rather than an opportunity to nurture young learners. We are grateful for climate activists that speak truth to power in getting toxins out of their communities and advocate for climate, social, and economic justice. These are the people that let us know that deep, radical kindness is possible—through actions, voice, and leadership—that actively build a more just and equitable world.
Senior Director of Development, Marketing and Communications
Senior Director of Programs
Featured photo credit: Asis Percales