We now know that before Europeans came, the land was intensively managed by human inhabitants. According to Nickson, the neglect of this history has led to a situation in which large tracts of land are preserved, left unmanaged and removed from contributing to the lives of people who used to work them. Now there are regular catastrophic forest fires in Colorado, for example, which could be happening because of climate change, or because the forests are no longer culled and managed properly. According to this view, the environmental movement has in many cases been the unwitting shock troops that hastened the economic collapse of rural regions. When land owners are bankrupted by regulations and the decline of the local economy, corporate farms and government institutions come later to buy land from those who are forced to sell cheap.
The most curious omission in Eco-fascists is that the nuclear history of the American West is never mentioned. The author wrote a great deal about the abuse of the good folk of the American West by remote, powerful institutions (the worst of which seem to be law firms working for NGOs), but if she had really wanted to point to a villain, there are no better examples than the litany of abuses by the nuclear weapons and nuclear energy industry: the uranium mine disaster at Church Rock, New Mexico (more radiation released than at Three Mile Island), still poisonous nuclear facilities at Hanford, Rocky Flats, and Los Alamos, and the millions of people affected by bomb fallout from atomic tests in Nevada.
In spite of what the people at 350.org hope, there is not likely to be a smooth transition to a less energy-intensive and less populous world. A return to the conditions of the past might be forced upon us by circumstances, and the road back will not be pleasant. Likewise, the attempt to satisfy demand for more energy will be disastrous. World population grew exponentially after the industrial revolution, not before. Energy inputs enable population growth, so increasing the energy supply ultimately solves nothing. In the past, without huge inputs of fossil and fissile fuels, population growth was always limited by what the sun could turn into food, and what food could turn into animal and human work.