Scientific article
Open access

Claiming ecological grief: Why are we not mourning (more and more publicly) for ecological destruction?

ContributorsVarutti, Marziaorcid
Published inAmbio
Publication date2023-12-07
First online date2023-12-07

Eco-anxiety, grief and despair are increasing, yet these emotions tend to remain private, rarely expressed in public. Why is it important and necessary to grieve for ecological loss? Why are we not—as individuals and societies—coming together to express and share our grief for ecological destruction? I address these questions from three angles. Firstly, I draw on recent literature on ecological grief and prior work on grief for human lives, to argue for the importance and urgency of grieving publicly for ecological loss. Building on this, I identify perceptual, cognitive, affective, ritual and political obstacles to ecological mourning; these obstacles point at critical intersections between emotions, practices, disciplines, public and private realms, which can turn into fruitful venues for further research, debate and action on ecological grief (and its absence). In closing, I propose a set of ‘ecological skills’ that might help us overcome these obstacles, and lead us to embrace ecological grief and mourning as acts of ethical responsibility and care for the planet.

  • European Commission - Curating Emotions: Exploring emotional competence in curatorial practice [101022941]
Citation (ISO format)
VARUTTI, Marzia. Claiming ecological grief: Why are we not mourning (more and more publicly) for ecological destruction? In: Ambio, 2023. doi: 10.1007/s13280-023-01962-w
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0044-7447

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