NVAS Africa Day: Living Environments: African Anthropocenes and Climate Justice


Program NVAS Africa Day 2023 (PDF)

We live in times of unprecedented environmental change. Scholars have therefore begun to refer to our geological time as ‘the Anthropocene’, reflecting that many of these changes can be traced back to human actions and interventions. Our way of life is affecting not just landscapes, lives and livelihoods, but all flora and fauna on the planet, leading David Wallace-Wels to announce in his book The Uninhabitable Earth (2020) that ‘it is worse, much worse, than you think.’ Calling out world leaders’ lack of tangible action on the topic of climate change, activist Greta Thunberg asked at a United Nations meeting in 2019: ‘How dare you?!’ And yet since 2019 the climatic conditions worldwide have worsened further. Where at some stage we thought the COVID-19 pandemic would lead to some sort of global reset towards more sustainable ways of living, this has not been the case. In fact, we seem to be back and already beyond where we left off before COVID-19, taking the plunder of the planet to new heights. Extreme weather events continue to increase in force and countries across the world have seen their reliance on fossil fuels for energy provision deepened by the war in Ukraine. In particular, African countries are bearing the brunt of the impacts and consequences of the climate change crisis, despite the fact that they have contributed least to causing it. At the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2022, a ‘Loss & Damage Fund for Vulnerable Countries’ was created, but which sentient stakeholders in our shared living environments will ultimately come to benefit from this, remains to be seen.

This NVAS Africa-day will focus on African Anthropocenes in relation to climate justice, exploring the broader context of living environments in which African people and other sentient stakeholders carrying the burden of climate change live their daily lives. Paying attention to the interplay of plants, people, animals and other critters, we invite papers that deal with different aspects of this topic on the African continent, including but not limited to the following:

– The causes and consequences of disasters and climate insecurity;
– Climate change in multispecies and transdisciplinary perspectives;
– Climate justice and environmental law;
– Environmental ethics;
– Resource extraction and sustainability.

The NVAS Africa-day will take place at Utrecht University on Saturday 30 September 2023.

Please send your abstracts of max. 250 words to nvasconf@asc.leidenuniv.nl before 10 June 2023. You will be informed whether your abstract has been selected by 1 July.