'Heading for Extinction': How the Climate and Ecological Emergency Reframes Mortality

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The discourse of a climate and ecological emergency (CEE), especially as articulated in 2019 by Extinction Rebellion, impinges on two major features of western death mentalities. First, in order to motivate action, CEE discourse induces mortality awareness, death anxiety and grief, and thus furthers the de-sequestration of death and grief. Second, the CEE redirects attention from the death of personally known individuals, to species death; and even if humans survive as a species, it may only be after many billions of humans have died. This anxiety about future collective death arguably comprises a new death mentality. The paper compares and contrasts the CEE with other harbingers of mass mortality such as nuclear war and the Covid pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-679
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Early online date2 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

No funding acknowledged


  • Anthropocene
  • Ariès
  • anxiety
  • denial
  • ecocide
  • extinction
  • grief

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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