2020-Vision: understanding climate (in)action through the emotional lens of loss

by Lisa Jones, Florence Halstead, Katie J. Parsons, Hue Le, Ly Thi Ha Bui, Christopher R. Hackney and Daniel R. Parsons

15 Sep 2021
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
40 (pp. 29-68)

Abstract: We are the midst of a climate emergency requiring urgent climate action that is as yet unforthcoming both on the scale and at the speed needed. This article considers this current state of inaction and how we might understand the processes of attitudinal and behavioural change needed through the emotional framework of loss. These issues are further explored through the additional lens of the year 2020, a year of tumultuous social change created by the COVID–19 pandemic. The article draws parallels with and looks to learn from the ways in which the collective loss experienced as a result of COVID–19 may offer a sense of hope in the fight not just against climate change but for climate justice. The article argues that appropriate leadership that guides widespread climate action from all is best sought from those groups already facing the loss of climate change and therefore already engaged in climate-related social action and activism, including youth and Indigenous peoples.

Keywords: Climate change, activism, climate action, climate movement, climate justice, 2020, COVID–19, loss, emotion, hope, youth, social action.

Article posted to the Journal of the British Academy, volume 9, supplementary issue 5 (Climate Activism)

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