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Radical Philosophy Review

Volume 23, Issue 2, 2020

The Radical Tradition, Politics, and Climate Change

Ole Martin Sandberg
Pages 331-360

Climate Disruption, Political Stability, and Collective Imagination

Many fear that climate change will lead to the collapse of civilization. I argue both that this is unlikely and that the fear is potentially harmful. Using examples from recent disasters I argue that climate change is more likely to intensify the existing social order—a truly terrifying prospect. The fear of civilizational collapse is part of the climate crisis; it makes us fear change and prevents us from imagining different social relations which is necessary if we are to survive the coming disasters and prevent further escalation. Using affect theory, I claim that our visions of the future affect our ability to act in the present. Rather than imagining a terrifying societal breakdown, we can look at how communities have survived recent disasters to get an image of what we need to expand upon to prepare for the future.

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