Eco-imperialism is a term coined by Paul Driessen to refer to the forceful imposition of Western environmentalist views on developing countries. The degree to which this occurs is a topic of debate, as is whether such imposition would be ethically justifiable. In his book Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death. Paul Driessen argues that like the European imperialists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, today’s eco-imperialists keep developing countries destitute for the benefit of the developed world.
By advocating for the precautionary principle, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development, Driessen claims, environmental groups legitimize their demands on government but often engender poverty and death in the process. Driessen also asserts that environmentalists’ demands can sometimes cause environmental degradation.
Driessen’s arguments are similar to those of environmental critic Bjørn Lomborg.
Some commentators[who?] maintain that eco-imperialism has a racial dimension, and occurs when environmentalists place the well-being of the environment over the well-being of humans, particularly non-whites, living in developing countries. Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality has argued that European Union restrictions on the use of the pesticide DDT to combat malaria are killing ‘black babies’. Environmental historian Ramachandra Guha has accused ‘authoritarian’ biologists of valuing the protection of endangered species over the well-being of local people in India and other developing countries.