Frontlines of Crisis, Forefront of Change: Climate Justice as an Intervention into (Neo)colonial Climate Action Narratives and Practices

Indigenous peoples, Small Island States, the Global South, women, youth, and the global poor, all face disproportionate impacts from climate change, a fact captured in the adage “the least responsible are most vulnerable.” Recognising the Global North as the instigators and benefactors of a carbon economy built on the continuing oppression and exploitation of black and brown communities, in this thesis I highlight the on-going colonial violence involved in both extractive industry and the mainstream climate action movements of the Global North. I look at the stories we tell about climate change and how they legitimize a colonial structuring of power: from mainstream media coverage of the London Climate March in 2015 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) newsroom editorials. I investigate how communities and grassroots organisations are using radical media strategies to articulate climate justice as a transformative decolonial intervention from the frontlines of Standing Rock to the financial district of London. I follow the argument of activist groups including The Wretched of the Earth, the UK Tar Sands Network, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and the Indigenous Environmental Network; that climate action will be unfair and ineffective until it recognises the intersecting systems of power which created and maintain the inequalities of the colonial carbon economy. I argue that radical media strategies, on the streets and on the airwaves, are central to the articulation of climate justice and the contestation of hegemonic meanings of climate action that legitimise colonial violence.

Katie Arthur – Frontlines of Crisis, Forefront of Change.

Katie Arthur

About Katie Arthur

Katie's research focuses on the decolonial intervention in the UK climate change conversation. Katie has worked with the UNFCCC secretariat, The Surefoot Effect and the Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team. She has written for Novara Media, The Ecologist and MIT Center for Civic Media. In her spare time here, Katie enjoys sneaking to English Literature courses and following Freud-based memes. Thesis: Frontlines of Crisis, Forefront of Change: Climate Justice as an Intervention into (Neo)colonial Climate Action Narratives and Practices