Labour of Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

Climate change – and efforts to respond to it – have wide-ranging implications for labour. Retooling infrastructures and scaling up low-carbon energy and transportation requires large mobilizations of labour and transitions for many workers. Nature-based solutions and other land-based mitigation schemes attribute new forms of value to the work of environmental care and stewardship. Climate-related health problems increase the pressure on care workers, including those outside of formal healthcare systems. Climate change-induced disasters increase pressure on already-precarious workers in disaster response. While discussions of labour in relation to climate change have largely centred on ‘just transitions’ for workers in fossil fuels and other extractive industries, responses to climate change are rapidly changing the conditions and politics of work across multiple sectors. 

This research stream investigates the labour processes, struggles, and demands emerging through efforts to respond to climate change. What kinds of labour are becoming ‘essential’ in climate response, and what kinds remain unseen or undervalued? How are climate responses inheriting already-existing problems of precarity and inequity in existing industries, and what does this mean for the futures they enact?  How might labour and work be re-thought in light of needed transformations towards low or no growth economies? 

Topics in this Research Stream:

  • Disaster response and precarious work 
  • Labour of environmental care, repair, and stewardship 
  • Health, well-being, and care work 
  • Just transitions and the labour impacts of industrial change 
  • Feminist, Marxist, and eco-socialist critiques of climate repair work 



Sloan Morgan, V., Hoogeveen, D., & de Leeuw, S. (2021). Industrial Camps in Northern British Columbia: The Politics of ‘Essential’ Work and the Gendered Implications of Man Camps. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 20(4), 409–430.

Nelson, S., P. Bigger, M. Elias, and A. Schuldt. High Roads to Resilience: Pathways to Equitable Forest Restoration Economies in California. Collaboration with the Climate and Community Project. Forthcoming.

Collard, RC. and J. Dempsey. 2018. Accumulation by difference-making: an anthropocene story, starring witches. Gender, Place and Culture. 25(9): 1349-1364

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