On preparing for the great gift of community that climate disasters can give us

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There is a widespread (if rarely voiced) assumption, among those who dare to understand the future which climate chaos is likely to yield, that civility will give way and a Hobbesian war of all against all will be unleashed. Thankfully, this assumption is highly questionable. The field of ‘Disaster Studies’, as shown in Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell, makes clear that it is at least as likely that, tested in the crucible of back-to-back disasters, humanity will rise to the challenge, and we will find ourselves manifesting a truer humanity than we currently think ourselves to have. Thus the post-sustainability world will offer us a tremendous gift amidst the carnage. But how well we realise this gift depends on our preparing the way for it. In order to prepare, the fantasy of sustainable development needs to be jettisoned, along with the bargain-making mentality underpinning it. Instead, the inter-personal virtues of generosity, fraternity and care-taking need fostering. One role a philosophically informed deep reframing can play in this process of virtuous preparation for disaster is in helping people to understand that, in order to care for their children, they need to care for their children in turn, and so on, ad infinitum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-167
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Discourse
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2017


  • Climate change
  • care
  • children
  • community
  • disaster
  • hope

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