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Journal Articles Geoforum Year : 2023

Deciding whether it’s too late: How climate activists coordinate alternative futures in a postapocalyptic present

Abstract

Climate activists are confronted with an increasing tension between the need for urgent climate action and a sense that it could already be too late to prevent 'dangerous' or 'runaway' climate change. In this context, scholars observe the spread of a postapocalyptic environmentalism that understands climate change as already being locked in beyond 'safe' limits. This narrative challenges apocalyptic environmentalism, which presents climate disasters as a future threat to be avoided. We aim to improve our understanding of the profound yet contradictory impact of this shift on climate activism. Specifically, we explain why in some cases, the postapocalyptic narrative is adopted without clearly impacting climate activists' goals and strategies, which remain informed by an apocalyptic vision based on notions of solution, control and progress. Drawing on an ethnographic case study of a British climate movement organization, we explain why apocalyptic strategies can be reproduced despite postapocalyptic visions, and how this can result in a juxtaposition of strategies perceived as most realistic and strategies actually being pursued. We argue that Tavory and Eliasoph's (2013) theory about the disjuncture and coordination of imagined futures can help us make sense of this situation. We 2 expand this theory by showing the importance of spatialization as a strategy to overcome temporal contradictions.
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Dates and versions

hal-03920966 , version 1 (03-01-2023)

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Joost de Moor, Jens Marquardt. Deciding whether it’s too late: How climate activists coordinate alternative futures in a postapocalyptic present. Geoforum, 2023, 138, pp.103666. ⟨10.1016/j.geoforum.2022.103666⟩. ⟨hal-03920966⟩
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