The Work of Grief in Radical Environmentalism
Keywords:Activism, animal rights, environmentalism, ritual, mourning, protest, extinction
Radical environmental and animal rights activists mourn nonhuman others in a variety of ways that express their kinship with these others and strengthen their commitments to radical causes. Grief is a central motivating factor in conversion and commitment to activism. It is both an expression of deeply felt kinship bonds with other species and a signilcant factor in creating those bonds. Nearly all environmental and animal rights protests reference some kind of loss, including mass extinction. Activists’ very participation in protests is part of an ongoing process of remembering the dead and disappearing, including those who were intimately known, as well as the more abstract dead of mass extinction and deforestation. For these reasons, radical environmental and animal rights protests themselves can be understood as rites of mourning, as they are so frequently motivated by loss and grief.
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