Hannah van den Bosch: ‘Outrageous positivity won’t help solve the climate crisis’

A literature search, experimenting in the lab or working with SPSS? Tilburg University students write the most diverse theses. In the Master’s Thesis section, Univers highlights one each month. This time: Five Questions by Hannah van den Bosch. She studied philosophy and wrote a dissertation on “Environmental Mourning”: an emotion caused by the current climate crisis and a rapidly changing world.

Illustration: Jeroen de Liger

Where did the inspiration for your thesis topic come from?

“At the end of 2019, I had to choose a thesis topic. During that time, millions of animals were affected by bushfires in Australia, including more than 60,000 koalas. Those animals were constantly in the news and in the media, they became an icon Every time I looked at it, I had the same thought: “It’s because of us, this is because we humans aren’t doing enough to combat climate change.”

“Coincidentally, I had just read about the topic of ‘environmental mourning,’ also known as ‘climate grief.’ The description of that phenomenon matches exactly what I felt when I saw koalas: sadness, despair, and anger at the fact that its animal and animal habitat is being destroyed by the change of koalas. The climate and that this is irreversible. I wanted to do something with that.”

What did you search?

“I looked at how society reacts to environmental mourning, and how we can philosophically explain those reactions. Climate grieving is often seen as something you have to get over quickly. Just like with normal mourning: pause for a moment, go through it and then you’ll be over. Environmental mourning is also seen as a private problem, it is an individual problem and not something that affects society as a whole.In fact, the sooner you regroup, the sooner you will be able to participate in that community again.

For a philosophical explanation of these reactions to climate sadness, I did a literature search: What have other philosophers already written on the subject, and is it enough? It turns out that this is not so much: ecological mourning is a recent phenomenon and little is known about it until now. However, it has found evidence of environmental feminism. This sees a parallel line between the oppression of minorities and women by patriarchal regimes, and the oppression of man against climate and animals.”

(text continues below image)

Photo: Jack Tomers

What are your most striking observations?

“In my view, reactions to environmental mourning always lack emotion. However, reactions can be divided into two categories of injustice. The first is the lack of knowledge sharing. When people deny that ecological mourning is an appropriate response to the current climate crisis, they deny those who are going through it from some stage.As a result, the two groups do not reach each other.

“In addition, those experiencing environmental grief will often be dismissed as ‘too emotional.’ They will simply be angry or sad, negative feelings that have a depressing effect on the fight against climate change. Many people who respond to environmental grief say they have a rational premise. , which would be more effective and better in solving the climate crisis.But what they don’t realize is that just this crazy positivity and rationality doesn’t really help either.

“In my opinion, ecological mourning, this requires an even greater amount to cut To work in those who experience it is more than just a rational approach can. If you dare to admit that climate change is affecting you emotionally, you are more likely to do something about it.”

What do you hope people learn from your thesis?

“People around me said: ‘It’s great that there is one word for this.’ They have caught themselves in the experience of environmental mourning, because they are constantly receiving bad reports from the media about the climate crisis. Whether they want to talk about it or not is personal. But if more people dare to admit that they are concerned about the planet, the future, and future generations, it may encourage them to take better care of the planet.”

Do you have any tips for aspiring thesis writers?

“First of all, be honest with your supervisor. It’s not bad or embarrassing if you get in trouble once, or you don’t feel like it anymore-. Anyway, my supervisor responded very well to that, she supported me very well in those moments.”

“It is also good to talk a lot with friends and fellow students about your topic, which keeps you from feeling lonely. A friend of mine was working on her thesis at the same time as I was working on it, and she really became my friend. We asked each other how some of the classes were going, and if we had We made no progress. That was a huge encouragement.”

Leave a Comment