Confessions of a Reluctant Climate Project Collaborator

Engagement

By Micha Rahder, Louisiana State University §

Let me start with a confession: I never wanted to work on climate change.

Laguna del Tigre National Park, Guatemala. Photo by Micha Rahder. Laguna del Tigre National Park, Guatemala. Photo by Micha Rahder.

Don’t get me wrong – I am no climate change denier. But following my academic passions – first ecological and later anthropological – has historically led me to the lively entanglements of forests, not to the atmosphere. In contrast to the centrality of life in my curiosity and imagination, climate was not just dead (for death too is part of life), but lifeless. The thesaurus agreed with me, aligning “lifeless” with boring, tedious, dreary.

More than disinterest, I even began to resent climate change. I noticed, while working on a Master’s in Environmental Studies around 2007, that climate change was all-pervasive. Scheduled speakers, funding opportunities, calls for papers, popular press coverage, and everyday conversations all swirled around…

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