Joe Herbert “Between crisis and transformation: exploring the agency of young green activists in an era of socio-ecological upheaval”

In Students by Bethan Kelly

  • Newcastle University
  • Human Geography
  • j.f.herbert@newcastle.ac.uk

Description:

I completed a Geography BA at Newcastle University before continuing into postgraduate studies on a 1+3 ESRC scholarship. Having completed my Human Geography Research MA, I am now studying for a PhD. My research explores the ways in which young people are participating in, and shaping, contemporary trajectories in environmental activism and values. The project is interested in how young people experience socio-ecological crisis – conceived as both a material and discursive reality – as impacting upon their agency as emerging environmental activists. Against this foreground of crisis, it develops a multi-scalar approach to investigate the contemporary repertoires of action constructed by these young environmental activists as they negotiate different levels at which to enact their green values and pursue societal change. These can range from the micro level of individual and everyday practice, to meso scale collective action, as well as situating oneself within macro discourses and movements for socio-ecological transformation. Analysis of these contemporary repertoires of environmental action is conducted through a theoretical framework which draws on the academic-activist concept of degrowth, itself a prominent emerging discourse of socio-ecological transformation, which has also become an interpretative frame for green movements and activism. Underpinning the project’s multi-scalar approach, degrowth acknowledges that transformation is necessarily constituted by multiple levels, requiring both a diversity of collective action strategies at different scales, as well as a decolonising of the imagination from anti-ecological norms and attitudes.