Decolonising Climate Futures: The Role of Indigenous Peoples and Practices in Addressing the Climate Crisis

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Sociology


It is said that we only have the next decade to radically transform our relationship to nature in order
to prevent a climate crisis on a planetary scale (IPCC 2019). Whilst much is often made of the idea that
nations need to orientate societal practices towards climate mitigation, the dominant orthodoxy
shaping climate policy frameworks is the belief that a climate solution can be found through a planned
alignment of state and capital interests. In December 2019, at the 25th UN Climate Change Conference
(COP 25), world leaders, however, witnessed condemnation of the marketisation of solutions and
climate capitalism. Due to the accompanying erasure of human rights legislation, specifically
threatening indigenous groups in statute drafts, an unprecedented set of indigenous protests
occurred, leading to the eviction of indigenous activists and NGOs. The message was clear: climate
capitalism is eclipsing indigenous voice. In the wake of COP 25, indigenous leaders have condemned
the UN process as failing to address the urgency of the climate crisis, and as 'taking up space with false
This study explores the making and politics of knowledge, which is a key concern in Science and
Technology Studies (STS), and my investigation speaks directly to indigenous knowledge production
by exploring the 'Indigenous Paradigm'. In this research, the Indigenous Paradigm refers to indigenous
practices which reduce climate vulnerabilities whilst enabling cultures to flourish, and simultaneously
articulating a denunciation of capitalist solutions to climate change. My research will explore how
these practices might be seen as 'prefigurative', that is, representing a fundamental transformation in


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000665/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
2386029 Studentship ES/P000665/1 01/10/2020 30/09/2023 Abi Lafbery