The Temporality of Disaster: Data, the Emergency, and Climate Change
Forthcoming (2020) Anthropocenes
31 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2020
Date Written: 2020
Climate change threatens to destabilise existing humanitarian temporalities, particularly the idea of ‘building back better’. Building back better, which involves reducing vulnerability to future harm, depends on our being able to predict, to at least some extent, what the future like. Climate change, however, destabilises our predictive abilities and thus limits our ability to adequately respond to future risk. In response, there is an increased emphasis on resilience, adaptive capacity, and self-survival. At the same time, the data tools used by humanitarian actors to manage environmental risk focus attention on the present moment, rather than understanding the historical drivers of risk or invigorating new imaginings of the future. Both climate change and humanitarian digital data tools reinforce a focus on an always unfolding present.
Keywords: Climate change, big data, temporality, humanitarianism, resilience, build back better
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