Climate change and ecological instability have the potential to disrupt human societies and their futures. Cultural, social and ethical life in all societies is directed towards a future that can never be observed, and never be directly acted upon, and yet is always interacting with us. Thinking and acting towards the future involves efforts of imagination that are linked to our sense of being in the world and the ecological pressures we experience. The three key ideas of this book – ecologies, ontologies and mythologies – help us understand the ways people in many different societies attempt to predict and shape their futures. Each chapter places a different emphasis on the linked domains of environmental change, embodied experience, myth and fantasy, politics, technology and intellectual reflection, in relation to imagined futures. The diverse geographic scope of the chapters includes rural Nepal, the islands of the Pacific Ocean, Sweden, coastal Scotland, North America, and remote, rural and urban Australia.

This book will appeal to researchers and students in anthropology, sociology, environmental studies, cultural studies, psychology and politics.

part 1|48 pages

Intellectual and speculative engagements with ecological change

chapter 1|16 pages

Towards an anthropology of the future

Visions of a future world in the era of climate change

chapter 2|15 pages

The first draft of the future

Journalism in the ‘Age of the Anthropocene’

part 2|47 pages

The politics of engagement

chapter 4|16 pages

Futures of governance

Ecological challenges and policy myths in tuna fisheries

chapter 5|15 pages

The work of waste-making

Biopolitical labour and the myth of the global city

part 3|67 pages

Environmental change in specific places and cultures

chapter 7|16 pages

Indigenous ontologies and developmentalism

Analysis of the National Consultations for the Kiribati Adaptation Program

chapter 8|16 pages

When climate change is not the concern

Realities and futures of environmental change in village Nepal

chapter 9|16 pages

Ontologies and ecologies of hardship

Past and future governance in the Central Australian arid zone

chapter 10|17 pages

From good meat to endangered species

Indigenising nature in Australia’s Western Desert and in Germany’s Ruhr District

part 4|52 pages

Body and psyche

chapter 11|15 pages

Climate change imaginings and depth psychology

Reconciling present and future worlds

chapter 12|18 pages

What wrecks reveal

Structural violence in ecological systems

chapter 13|17 pages

Emergent ontologies

Natural scepticism, weather certitudes and moral futures

part 5|51 pages

Technological mythology

chapter 14|14 pages

Official optimism in the face of an uncertain future

Swedish reactions to climate change threats

chapter 15|17 pages

Geoengineering, imagining and the problem cycle

A cultural complex in action

chapter 16|18 pages

The creation to come

Pre-empting the evolution of the bioeconomy