Climate change, environmental justice and the unusual capacities of posthumans

Fox, N.J. and Alldred, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-5077-7286, 2021. Climate change, environmental justice and the unusual capacities of posthumans. Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, 12, pp. 59-75. ISSN 1759-7188

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In this article, we theorise and develop a posthumanist and new materialist approach to sustainable development
policy. We trace a humanist and anthropocentric emphasis in policy discussions of ‘sustainable that reaches back
almost 50 years, and still underpins recent United Nations (UN) statements on sustainable development. This
UN approach has tied policies to counter environmental challenges such as anthropogenic climate change firmly to
sustaining and extending future human prosperity. By contrast, we chart a path beyond humanism and
anthropocentrism, to establish a posthumanism environmentalism. This acknowledges human matter as an integral
(rather than opposed) element within an all-encompassing ‘environment’. Posthumanism simultaneously rejects the
homogeneity implied by terms such as ‘humanity’ or ‘human species’, as based on a stereotypical ‘human’ that
turns out to be white, male and from the global North. Instead, ‘posthumans’ are heterogeneous, gaining a diverse
range of context-specific capacities with other matter. Some of these capacities (such as empathy, altruism,
conceptual thinking and modelling futures) are highly unusual and— paradoxically — may be key to addressing
the current crises of environmental degradation and anthropogenic climate change.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Human Rights and the Environment
Creators: Fox, N.J. and Alldred, P.
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
Date: December 2021
Volume: 12
Number: 0
ISSN: 1759-7188
Rights: This is a draft article. The final version is available in Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, published in 2021, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 10 Dec 2021 09:16
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2023 03:00
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