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Environmental Philosophy

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published on September 1, 2017

Andrew F. Smith
DOI: 10.5840/envirophil201783150

From Victims to Survivors? Struggling to Live Ecoconsciously in an Ecocidal Culture

It’s hardly news that settler culture normalizes ecocide. Those of us raised as settlers who are nevertheless ecoconscious routinely blame ourselves for our failure to live up to our own best expectations when it comes to challenging the norms and practices of our culture. This leads us to overlook that we’re also—and, I think, much more so—among its victims. I outline five manifestations of victimhood routinely exhibited by the ecoconscious settler activists, scholars, and students with whom I interact. I then consider how we can transition from being victims to survivors of our culture, which is vital for ending ecocide. These two concepts, victimhood and survivorship, are regularly juxtaposed when discussing recovery for those subject to abuse, violence, and other trauma-inducing phenomena. Together they provide the basis for a clearer understanding of how we ecoconscious settlers should engage in the ongoing fight for our lives and our futures.

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