Resistance is Fertile: from Blockadia to Nowtopia

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Despite decades of mounting scientific evidence for an impending climate crisis and a plethora of viable ways to transition towards a more sustainable society, the global social metabolism remains dependant on fossil fuel extractivism which is driving climate change. Yet grassroots activists have already begun to demonstrate and experiment with the modes of living they desire to see in wider society. On every continent broad-based alliances are actively resisting the extraction, transportation and combustion of fossil fuels on the basis of the social, environmental and climatic injustice imposed. Because fossil fuel projects are initiated by political economies which can be described as capitalist/patriarchal/colonial/racist, fossil fuel conflicts are a political opportunity and real space for articulating diverse agendas and values, epistemologies and ontologies regarding the environment and society, as well as visions of system change. In this way these conflicts can become the confluence of grassroots social
movements, as well as of activist and academic co-produced theories. The paper draws from cases of ‘Blockadia’ - the interwoven spaces of resistance blocking the
fossil fuel chain - as featured on the Atlas of Environmental justice (EJAtlas, Assessing the mobilising groups, mobilising forms and alternative proposals, examples of intersectional alliances which use prefigurative resistance as part of their repertoire of action are examined. There are instances of sustainable solutions such as renewable energy projects used as a way to expose the conflict over fossil fuels, and moreover there are cases demonstrating the ways in which theoretical and political discourses such as decolonial theory and queer- /eco- feminisms are integrated not only into the framing of the conflict and the promotion of alternatives, but also into the culture and structure of the movement. This can also lead to antagonisms and critiques within the movement, which can help to progress theory and practice. Where communities of resistance have emerged, there are living examples of what more socio-ecologically resilient and just societies could look like, implicitly or explicitly realising academic and popular concepts such as nowtopias and Degrowth.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event6th International Degrowth conference: Dialogues in Turbulent Times -
Duration: 21 Aug 201825 Aug 2018


Conference6th International Degrowth conference


  • Degrowth
  • Environmental justice
  • fossil fuel conflicts
  • prefigurative politics


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