The apocalyptic depiction of climate change and its usefulness to pro-environmental behaviour
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Climate change is problematic to the imagination; it is highly complex, vast and possesses characteristics of invisibility, trans-temporality and trans-spatialness. As such, it is difficult to both conceptualise and communicate. This enacts as a barrier to pro-environmental behaviour, because climate change is often regarded as other, far off and unrelated. Apocalyptic depiction is the most common way of conveying environmental degradation, this project, however, argues that this furthers the barriers to pro-environmental behaviour, and accentuates the factors that makes climate change seem intangible, as well as diminish a sense of agency. We, therefore, need alternative discourses that allow us to imagine climate change. Since the use of apocalyptic tropes enact as a paralysis to the imagination, its outworn language fails to demand a critical engagement, and neither do they draw on a sense of relevance from the reader or present climate change in a conceivable context. Creative environmental writing offers a solution to this problem, since it can create new ways of thinking about environmental degradation that makes it more tangible. The project closely examines and deconstructs examples of eco-apocalyptic writing. The main text used are fictional works, these include Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake (2003) and The Year of the Flood (2009). The use of fictional material allows for greater illustration and extrapolation of apocalyptic tropes, thus further analysis and detail can be extracted, which allows for a more enlightened summary, than, for instance, an examination of journals or articles. Therefore, this project is approached from an interdisciplinary ecocritical and cultural geography perspective.