Home and Away

The Politics of Life after Earth

in Environment and Society
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  • 1 micha.rahder@gmail.com
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Abstract

This article examines the reinvigoration of outer space imaginaries in the era of global environmental change, and the impacts of these imaginaries on Earth. Privatized space research mobilizes fears of ecological, political, or economic catastrophe to garner support for new utopian futures, or the search for Earth 2.0. These imaginaries reflect dominant global discourses about environmental and social issues, and enable the flow of earthly resources toward an extraterrestrial frontier. In contrast, eco-centric visions emerging from Gaia theory or feminist science fiction project post-earthly life in terms that are ecological, engaged in multispecies relations and ethics, and anti-capitalist. In these imaginaries, rather than centering humans as would-be destroyers or saviors of Earth, our species becomes merely instrumental in launching life—a multispecies process—off the planet, a new development in deep evolutionary time. This article traces these two imaginaries and how they are reshaping material and political earthly life.

Contributor Notes

MICHA RAHDER is an independent scholar based out of North Carolina. Her research centers on the intersection of science and social justice in environmental thought and practice, from Central American forest conservation to outer space colonization. Email: micha.rahder@gmail.com

Environment and Society

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