Jonas Müller – Politics of Self-Concept and Ecological Thought in the Climate Crisis

Developing an adequate response to the ongoing climate crisis is arguably the most pressing concern of the 21st century. Even with a clear-cut, actionable plan, bringing greenhouse gas emissions to a halt would be a herculean task, but just thinking about the climate crisis in itself has proven to be one of the more problematic aspects in formulating a way forward. In order to forge an understanding of how commonly accepted notions of “nature” hinder thinking efficiently about the climate crisis, my project aims to explore various avenues of ecological thought such as the Latourian concept of Gaia and Timothy Morton’s works on this matter. This will include a discussion of a number of life writing media as well as the economic relations molding our relationship to our supposed environment.

The above line of inquiry will be supplemented by an exploration of the current situation’s mental health implications, as both being affected by “natural” disasters exacerbated by the climate

crisis as well as the prospect thereof can result in dire consequences. Typically subsumed under “climate anxiety” or “climate depression,” these phenomena can be attributed to the neoliberal dogma of personal responsibility, which is exacerbated by the futility of individual action in dealing with a threat of this magnitude.

Through combining these distinct approaches I hope to contribute to the growing body of research on the climate crisis by developing an understanding of how pathways to a greener futures can be theorized.

Author: Jonas Müller