Indigenous Climate Change Justice: Risk Communication and Digital Activism in Australian New and Old Media

Prof. Katherine Russo

Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”

The evaluation of environmental risk often leads to conflict and legal disputes since risks are “threats to outcomes that we value. Defining risk means specifying those valued outcomes clearly enough to make choices about them” (Fischhoff and Kadvani 2011: 22). Yet while some outcomes, such as car mortality, are defined as risks, other outcomes such as climate change are contested and their measurement often leads to legal controversies. As Latour famously pointed out, the definition and evaluation of environmental risks is far from being stable and unproblematic (Latour, 1987). The paper provides an analysis of the recontextualisation and appraisal of Indigenous Australian Climate Justice in some new and old media genre chains. The analysis will be carried out by analysing a corpus, specifically compiled to represent different interrelated discourse genres. It is the contention of this paper that Indigenous Climate Change Justice stands as an opaque, discursive practice, which is often not taken into consideration in studies of climate change communication. Far from being an exercise in environmental apocalypticism, it stands as a resistant trace that questions neo-colonial ideologies of development and the fiction of national progress, highlighting that its deterministic nature does not make it predictable, and revealing how chaos is not just incidental but central to ethics and ‘cosmopolitics’ as the potential trigger of encounter, connectivity and conviviality.

Thursday, 22nd July, 2021