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Postapocalyptic narratives in climate activism: their place and impact in five European cities

Joost de Moor (2021) Postapocalyptic narratives in climate activism: their place and impact in five European cities, Environmental Politics, DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2021.1959123

Abstract

As climate movements are growing around the world, so too is a postapocalyptic form of environmentalism. While apocalyptic environmentalism warns of future catastrophe in case of inaction, its postapocalyptic sibling assumes that catastrophe is already here or unavoidable. Here I explore the overlooked strategic implications of postapocalyptic narratives in climate change movements. I present data from a qualitative study of climate activism in five European cities: Malmö, Hamburg, Antwerp, Bristol, and Manchester, based on ethnographic observations and 46 qualitative interviews. I argue that postapocalyptic narratives are indeed widely present but are, following the logics of appropriateness, habit and affect, kept out of strategizing; in turn, this enables a continued focus on climate mitigation. Debates about the need for strategies to adapt to present or unavoidable climate disruptions tend to be foreclosed, though exceptions like the co-creation of local adaptation measures are discussed.

 

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