Explores the ways climate change and extreme weather are negotiated politically in a border community
As a borderland city with generations of slow violence and extreme weather events like flash flooding and intense heat waves, San Antonio, Texas, speaks directly to global issues in climate politics. In Climate Politics on the Border: Environmental Justice Rhetorics, Kenneth Walker takes a place-based approach to his study of San Antonio to explore how extreme weather events and responses to them shape local places, publics, and politics, with an eye toward a future characterized by severe climate breakdown.
Attending to the local histories and micropolitics of San Antonio, Walker examines the effects of extreme weather events as they are experienced across radically inequitable social categories. These local histories serve as a guide, not just for future climates, which stand to be unprecedented, but for the necessary public and political responses to them. He shows how extreme weather events in the past have reinforced colonial social orders that weaken democratic goals of pluralism and equity. Conversely, he also shows how diverse coalitions have resisted and responded to these forces.
Walker examines the ethics of Latinx and Anglo relations within state-sponsored productions of racial inequity and environmental degradation, the coalitional capacities of environmental activists and second-wave Chicana/o organizations to protect clean water and transform local political representation, the obligations of place-keeping in Latinx urban design and ecological restoration, and the need to foster pluriversal worlds in city-level climate action and adaptation plans. Collectively these chapters rethink tropes of adaptation, resilience, and coalition as rhetorical and ecological capacities for public and political responses to extractivism.
Based on years of archival work and fieldwork, Climate Politics on the Border demonstrates vividly why ecological and anticolonial approaches to rhetoric are essential for grappling with climate politics. Overall, this is a timely study of how environmental degradation, pollution, and climate change are disputed and negotiated at the local political level in a borderland community.