Sustainable Ethics and Delinquent Consumers: Environmentalist Discourse and the Apparatus of Ecological Crisis
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This project analyses the dominant environmentalist preoccupation with “sustainable consumption” to account for the failure of this discourse to address the structural causes and genocidal harms of our environmental policies, and the impotence of our efforts to arrest the systemic industrial devastation caused by climate change. I argue that our preoccupation with the surveillance of “delinquent consumers” in environmentalist discourse only makes sense given our post-racial and pre-ecocatastrophe sensibility of the present in which systemic racism is consigned to a problem of the past and ecological catastrophe is perceived as a problem not yet arrived. The complicity of our current efforts to arrest climate change requires strategies that affect our sensibility of the present. As such, I suggest the cultivation of a “political sense of mourning” so that we can devise more effective tactics to arrest the sacrificial politics upon which our capitalist practices of production and consumption depend.