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Accepted Paper:

Negotiating Multispecies Care amid the Australian Black Summer  
Lena M. Schlegel (Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich)

Paper short abstract:

In southeast Australia, climate change unfolds as a conflict of how to live well together with other species in environments shaped by an ancient ecology, colonialism and extractivism. Amid this conflict, the slow and fast violence of climate change are undone through multispecies modes of care.

Paper long abstract:

In the forests of southeast Australia, a fundamental conflict between a fire-prone ecology, extractive land use and an ongoing colonial human-nature separation unfolds in light of the escalating climate catastrophe. The 2019-20 bushfires have unsettled established nature-society relations and call into question contemporary land use, such as current forestry and farming practices. They´ve also uncovered the fundamental entanglements and vulnerabilities humans share with other than human creatures and their environments. Amidst “Black Summer´s” devastation, people who are concerned about the future of these shared worlds, are faced with the question how to live well together in multispecies relations at the brink of extinction and landscape change. Between April 2022 and April 2023, I worked with environmentally-minded people in bushfire-affected communities in East Gippsland, Victoria, to better understand their ways of caring for the environment and other creatures in the light of this unfolding conflict of care in more-than-human relations. Normally an abstract phenomenon, climate change materialises in concrete localised conflicts where people negotiate meaning together with nonhuman others such as rare gliding mammals, giant trees and ancient forests. Engaging in recuperative activities which afford a strong grounding in place and the present, they´re set to undo both the slow and the fast violence of climate disaster. In order to highlight the multispecies character of these caring struggles, I engaged in photography as an art of noticing to complement my multispecies ethnography of care amid the Australian Black Summer.

Panel P015
Towards Atmospheric Care: Undoing Environmental Violence, Experimenting With Ecologies Of Support [Colleex Network]
  Session 1