How Queer is Climate Justice? A Review of the Literature

Authors: Michael Mikulewicz*, Centre for Climate Justice - Glasgow Caledonian University, Neil Crawford*, Centre for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University
Topics: Sexuality, Global Change, Environment
Keywords: queer, climate justice, climate change, lgbt, intersectionality
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 44
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Queerness and climate change intersect in a number of ways, yet their relationship remains relatively understudied. This is despite the recent incorporation of intersectionality into an increasing number of studies on the social dimensions of climate change (Kaijser & Kronsell, 2014; Sultana, 2014). At the same time, climate justice scholarship and activism have made important connections between vulnerability to climate impacts and numerous social categories such as gender (usually understood as a dichotomy between cis-men and cis-women), race, class, colonial status, indigeneity, or age. However, sexuality and gender (understood as a fluid, non-binary concept) have remained relatively low on that list (Gaard, 2019; Vinyeta, Powys Whyte & Lynn, 2015). This paper will explore the (limited) existing literature on the intersection of climate change and queerness. We have identified four prominent themes in our review: 1) the heightened levels of vulnerability and exclusion experienced by queer people in the context of climate change impacts and the institutional responses to it in high-, middle- and low-income countries alike, 2) empowering work that highlights the efforts of queer people within the climate justice movement, 3) the theoretical contribution of queer scholars and queer theory to our thinking about climate change and the required responses, and 4) the methodological potential of queering the study of climate change. Taken together, this paper argues that though limited, the existing literature suggests that queer perspectives can offer an important and necessary contribution to discussions and efforts aimed at addressing climate injustices, with plentiful avenues for future work.

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