It’s a euphemism to say that climate change is going to be uncomfortable: it is probably the biggest threat facing humankind. However, while the temperature is rising, so are more and more people.
In the climate change movement, in activist groups and anti-climate change demonstrations, feelings of discomfort have received a great deal of attention. This is hardly surprising. First of all, these feelings relate to what most people experience in relation to climate change. Moreover, they seem to pose a particularly pressing problem for climate activism. As a consequence, in the context of climate activism, feelings of discomfort are generally discredited as purely impeding factors. Cognitive dissonance and implicatory denial have become current terms in the climate change debate to explain why feelings of discomfort tend to impede and even distort effective climate change action.
This project looks at two approaches to accommodate uncomfortable feelings: one that tries to eliminate negativity, and one that tries to transform discomfort into something positive. It is argued that both approaches are problematic from a philosophical perspective. This project develops an alternative and more nuanced understanding of the role of feelings of discomfort in climate change activism.