Populist Ecologies

Ed Atkins*, Filippo Menga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Right-wing variants of populism are on the rise across the globe, creating new patterns of interaction between society and the environment. These new socio-ecological relationships – dubbed ‘populist ecologies’ – are not homogenous and, instead, can vary from country to country and populist to populist. In this article, we adopt two illustrative case studies to outline two particular right-wing populist ecologies. First, we turn to the government of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil (2019 onwards) and detail the ways in which Bolsonaro’s anti-science agenda is evident in his response to patterns of deforestation and the ‘burning of the Amazon’ in 2019. Second, we explore the politics of Matteo Salvini in Italy, highlighting how, in this form of right-wing populism, the environment has become a container for wider political ambitions. In doing so, this work highlights the complexity of the relationship between contemporary right-wing populism and the environment – and the ways in which populist ecologies may act to conceal the more-nefarious elements of the populist moment.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Oct 2021


  • Populism
  • Brazil
  • Italy
  • Bolsonaro
  • Salvini
  • Ecology


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