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Climate Justice, Intersectionality and Sexuality: An exploration of theory and methods for an intersectional analysis of vulnerability

Authors: Michael Mikulewicz*, Centre for Climate Justice - Glasgow Caledonian University
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Global Change, Sexuality
Keywords: climate justice, vulnerability, sexuality, intersectionality
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Climate justice, a close relative of environmental justice, underlines the ethical dimensions of climate change (Jafry et al. 2019). Scholars in this field consider various social characteristics that contribute to people’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, such as gender, age, disability, indigeneity, class or geography. However, it has been suggested that the intersectionality of these factors is rarely acknowledged, let alone analyzed, in climate change research (Osborne 2015; Wågström 2018), leading to oversimplified understandings of vulnerability and ineffective adaptation programming. This paper will contribute to the relatively recent effort to introduce intersectionality into climate studies and climate justice, in particular (Di Chiro 2011; Kaijser and Kronsell 2014; Mersha 2017; Perkins 2019, Sultana 2010, 2014) by focusing on sexuality. It will explore the potential insights ecofeminism (Adams and Gruen 2014; Gaard 2015), queer ecology (Mortimer-Sandilands and Erickson 2010), postcolonial theory (Kapoor 2015) and climate and environmental justice can contribute to a framework for studying the intersectional spaces of queer people’s vulnerability to climate impacts. Specifically, the paper will consider how sexuality may intersect with other axes of identity and difference that can empower and disempower people in the face of climate change. It will also build on the existing insights on how to conduct intersectionality-oriented analyses of vulnerability and adaptation (Kaijser and Kronsell 2014; Osborne 2015), with the underlying goal of exploring the emancipatory potential of this approach in planning for climate change.


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