Volume 23, Issue 2, 2020
The Radical Tradition, Politics, and Climate Change
Ole Martin Sandberg
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.