Beyond the green state? How citizens address environmental problems when states seem unable to do so

Environmental activism has traditionally been conceived of as citizens or movements that pressure states to resolve environmental problems. But what happens when this focus on states breaks down because activists no longer believe states are able to resolve environmental problems like climate change, or no longer believe that these problems can be resolved at all? In my presentation, I will bring together insights from several projects that I have been involved in to address this urgent question, as well as to outline areas where more research is still needed. Topics that I will touch upon include 1) the emergence of “do it yourself (DIY) activism” by which citizens start addressing environmental problems trough everyday, practical measures; 2) strategic dilemmas facing environmental movements that decide to no longer engage with states and international organizations; and 3) the strange absence of (research on) activism on adaptation to climate change, despite the fact that the latter has become so widely conceived of as inevitable. 

Joost de Moor (PhD) is a Research Associate at the School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations, and Environment (SPIRE) at Keele University (UK), and is currently a visiting scholar at Stockholm University. He works for the ESRC funded Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity. His research interests include activism within environmental and climate movements. In particular, his research seeks to understand how environmental movements deal with strategic dilemmas they face in a context of worsening environmental crises. He has furthermore done work on political participation, and political consumerism and lifestyle politics in particular. He has publications in Environmental PoliticsMobilizationInternational Journal of Urban and Regional ResearchParliamentary Affairs, and Acta Politica, and has contributed to several edited volumes on climate activism and political consumerism. Joost is convener of the ECPR Standing Group on Participation and Mobilization, and is an associate editor of Political Research Exchange.