Lecture by Erkko Professor David Schlosberg: Climate Turbulence and Justice: Disruption, Displacement, and Democratic Innovation

The Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies is hosting David Schlosberg as the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor during the spring of 2024. Professor Schlosberg will give a public lecture at the University of Helsinki on February 8 at 4:15 pm.

Time: February 8, 4:15 pm

Venue: Metsätalo Hall 1 (Unioninkatu 40, ground floor)

Reception: after the lecture at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Fabianinkatu 24 A, 3rd floor)

(Recording of the lecture available on the HCAS Youtube Channel: https://youtu.be/CWHyIQt5DVc?si=BiR1rMwd33Yl2Pr_)


This talk will address how the increase in climate disruptions and converging crises can be understood as environmental and climate injustice. It addresses two different conceptual issues stemming from the climate and environmental crises – two distinct but intersecting claims on turbulence and justice in a very unsettled environment.

First, the reality of turbulence or disruption is a challenge to past ways of thinking about environmental disasters and resilience – through single or successive shocks or stressors. Climate change has created converging, overlapping, intersecting crises; it is the new constant, noted in popular terms like the ‘polycrisis’. Such crises are not simply multiple, however, but inherently material, visceral, and literally unsettling. Second, given that growing experience of constant turbulence, disruption, and unsettling of place, how do we need to rethink and understand environmental injustice, climate injustice, multispecies injustice? What is unjust about turbulence and disruption – the constant disruption and displacement of connections to place, to species, to immersive and entangled environments?

I close with two provocations about turbulence. On the one hand, I ask how a climate change that literally unsettles settler countries might not be considered only unjust. The second provocation is a question about the impact of turbulence on democratic engagement and practice – can democratic innovations address the injustices of being constantly unsettled, or will such turbulence add to the illiberal challenges facing democratic values and practice?


David Schlosberg is Director of the Sydney Environment Institute and Professor of Environmental Politics at the University of Sydney, and currently the Erkko Visiting Professor of Studies in Contemporary Society at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Schlosberg’s main theoretical interests are in environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory, and in particular the intersection of the three with his groundbreaking work on environmental, ecological, and multispecies justice. His other theoretical interests are in climate justice, climate adaptation and resilience, and environmental movements and the practices of everyday life. Professor Schlosberg’s more applied work includes justice in adaptation and resilience planning, the social impacts of climate change, and community-based food movements and policy. He is the author, co-author, and co-editor of numerous books, including Defining Environmental Justice (Oxford, 2007), Sustainable Materialism: Environmental Movements and the Politics of Everyday Life (Oxford 2019), and the forthcoming Institutionalising Multispecies Justice (Cambridge 2024).  His articles are on the top-ten cited list of numerous journals in political theory and environmental politics.


HCAS research coordinator, Kaisa Kaakinen, at: kaisa.kaakinen@helsinki.fi

About the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professorship:

The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation donated 2.92 million euros to the University of Helsinki Funds in 2008 for the establishment of a visiting professorship in studies on contemporary society at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. The research emphasis of the professorship lies on issues concerning social justice.