CFA: Workshop Environmental Grief, Hope and Beyond

Call for Abstracts:



workshop organised by the Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice, Pardubice (Czech Republic)

28 – 30 August 2023


Confirmed speakers:

Nora Hämäläinen (University of Helsinki)

Rupert Read (University of East Anglia)

Tom Whyman (Durham University)


As the long ongoing environmental and climate crisis has, at last, become widely publicly acknowledged and discussed, the forms of response to it have expanded their scope as well. Now it is no longer only the matter of understanding (as scientists) the processes and impacts of climate change, but of accommodating the awareness of these impacts in our everyday lives. Thus, there has been a recent surge of the coverage – by researchers, artists, media, news – of the ways in which people acknowledge the current predicament: environmental grief, climate anxiety, ecological anger, also more “niche” responses such as melancholia. These responses typically have a negative “spin”, they are unpleasant, even painful experiences; which is one of the reasons why they are – not uncontroversially – often construed in terms of a mental health issue or a mental health threat. On the other hand, there are open avenues of working with these emotions that resist this reading: accepting our sense of guilt and responsibility, finding hope in the midst of despair (and where to find it), making use of our anger by turning it into an organised (political) action. Though there has been much philosophy done recently about the climate crisis and climate politics, environmental emotions have, until now, been mainly discussed by other disciplines than philosophy. The ambition of this workshop is thus to bring together voices interested in discussing environmental emotions philosophically, both in view of their dominant distinctively negative, unpleasant tonality, and in relation to what lies or may lie beyond this dominantly negative focus.

Submissions are welcome from researchers at all career stages. We welcome submissions engaging with questions including but not limited to such as these:

  • What is the nature of the negative responses to the climate crisis (grief, anxiety, …)? Are they emotions, mental (health) states, something else?
  • How do these responses affect our lives? What “work” are they doing for us?
  • What resources and directions for a positive, constructive, or proactive (or hopeful) take on the climate crisis are there? What is the nature of such hope?
  • What kind of distinctive politics does accompany and characterise these emotions?
  • How to understand these emotions as aspects of the life of people living in urban, industrialised, developed societies, as opposed, for instance, to the life of Indigenous peoples who are often afflicted by the climate crisis more directly?
  • What role do arts and cultural practices – visual arts, literature, performing arts, etc. – play in creating, cultivating and transforming our emotional responses to the climate crisis?

Send abstracts of 300-500 words by email to by 31 May. Notifications of acceptance/nonacceptance will be sent by 30 June.