Love the Planet, Kill the Infidels

article image
Paul Hostetler /

What are we to make of a green terrorist? “Some of the most recognizable militants in the Islamic world,” writes Earth Island Journal (Winter 2011), “have recently made statements linking peace and stability with healthy ecosystems.”

Last October, Hezbollah guerrilla leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah “took time out from his diatribes against the United States and Israel to deliver an environmentally themed stump speech.”

“The climate threat today,” he told his listeners, according to Reuters, “is among the biggest threats faced by mankind.”

Osama bin Laden had chimed in a week earlier, suggesting a link between widespread flooding in Pakistan and global warming.

For greens trying to attract allies to their battle against climate change, these endorsements are a mixed blessing: On one hand, they signal a growing acceptance of current climate science even in unexpected quarters. On the other, do we want the wrong people on the right side of this issue? Doesn’t it make it a wee bit easier for climate-change deniers to paint greens as anti-American terrorist sympathizers?

“With enemies like these,” writes Earth Island Journal, “maybe it’s time to update the tired post-9/11 sound bite: If the U.S. gives up on tackling global climate change . . . the terrorists win?”

This article first appeared in the May-June 2011 issue of Utne Reader.

In-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.