Although climate change has brought about a new awareness of environmental problems, it has also complicated our view of the socio-natural relationship and hence the conversation about the transition away from unsustainability. It has done so by exposing the degree of what may be termed the ‘metabolic exchange’ between society and nature, which is the outcome of a long history of reciprocal influence and human intervention. In this context, the notion of the ‘Anthropocene’ has emerged as an attempt to encompass the human ability to act as a powerful agent of environmental change. Yet we are also re-discovering the extent to which we are ourselves influenced and constrained by the nonhuman environment. If it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between society and nature, arguing that the achievement of sustainability can be achieved by humans retreating from the natural world also becomes untenable. Thus, a number of questions arise:
• How is environmental political theory responding to the challenge of the Anthropocene?
• And how should it actually respond?
• Are the premises of classical environmentalism still valid?
• What is involved in the project of naturalistic ethics after the end of nature?
• What about the new salience of justice?
• Is there room for understanding between a reformist environmentalism and a more radical strand that seeks post-capitalistic solutions to climate change?
The advent of climate change has already transformed and challenged environmentalism in its far-reaching consequences for the analysis, values, motivations etc. upon which it is based. This workshop will try to elucidate whether a new, ‘fourth-wave’ environmentalism is emerging, entailing the end of environmentalism as we knew it – or whether the news of the death of environmentalism is exaggerated.