Francisco Garcia-Gibson and Temi Ogunye
There has been significant philosophical work on activism in recent years, but the topic of climate activism remains underexplored. Climate change may become the defining political challenge of the XXIst century, and dramatic instances of climate activism – such as Extinction Rebellion protests or the global school strikes movement – have powerfully caught public attention. The aim of this workshop is to facilitate philosophical discussion on climate activism, particularly around the following sets of questions:
The ends of climate activism
- What should the end of climate activism be? Arguably, it should combine mitigation, adaptation, and compensation for the disastrous consequences of climate change, but should activists partly prioritise one of these ends over the others?
- Some activists claim that climate disaster cannot be averted without dismantling the structures of global capitalism and imperialism. But is this aim feasible, given the urgency of averting climate disaster?
- One important driver of individual behaviour is culture – the repository of norms, values, and representations that members of social groups possess. Should climate activism aim to change culture and, if so, how?
- Should (climate) activism be defined as action that aims to bring about social or political ends? What about action that is non-strategic or purely expressive?
The means of climate activism
- One distinction worth drawing is between legal and illegal climate activism. Does illegal climate activism stand in need of moral justification qua illegal climate activism? If so, where and why?
- Another distinction worth drawing is between harmful and nonharmful climate activism. Does all harmful climate activism stand in need of moral justification? Should we treat physical harm to persons and harm to property the same or differently?
- Is it appropriate or helpful to apply the ethics of self-defence framework to the issue of climate change?
- Is the distinction between civil and uncivil activism useful in the climate activism debate?
The agents of climate activism
- It is often complained that those who typically engage in climate activism are unrepresentative of wider society, particularly of those likely to be most negatively impacted by climate change. But do the identities of climate activists matter?
- Do the responsibilities associated with climate activism vary depending on the agent in question?
- Does the fact that climate change is a global collective action problem mean that locally focused activism is ineffective, and therefore unjustified? Or do activists instead have reasons to coordinate, cooperate, and perhaps even to collectivise and thereby form a transnational group agent?
If you are interested in applying to participate in the workshop, please send an abstract (400-500 words) prepared for anonymous review to climateactivismMANCEPT@gmail.com by 3rd June 2022. Abstracts should be accompanied by a non-blind cover sheet listing the speaker’s name, paper title, institutional affiliation and contact details. Each speaker will be allotted 20-25 minutes for presentation and 35-40 minutes for discussion. We especially welcome submissions from underrepresented groups. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any queries! (Francisco: email@example.com; Temi: firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is an in-person workshop. Please let us know in your submission if you can only attend virtually, as the workshop may move to hybrid modality if enough participants demand it.
Invited speaker: Dr. Alex McLaughlin (Cambridge)
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