Political Ecologies of Celebrity, Philanthropy, and Nature 2.0

Famous and wealthy individuals are increasingly prominent actors within environmental campaigns and movements. By wielding funding and/or influence, they can shape public understandings and responses to environmental challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss. A number of political ecologists have examined this trend, exploring celebrity, wealth, and philanthropy as they relate to environmental politics (Brockington, 2009; Holmes, 2012; Prudham, 2009). Alongside these powerful, celebrity environmentalisms, digital and social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube are becoming a space where citizens, non-profits, and grassroots advocacy organizations engage environmental issues and speak back to previously inaccessible figures (including the ultra-famous and/or the ultra-rich). Political ecologists have examined this trend through the concept of Nature 2.0 (Buscher 2013, Buscher et al., 2017).


Recently, the celebrity environmentalisms and Nature 2.0 literatures have begun to cross-fertilize (Hawkins and Silver, 2017). Indeed, the division between these literatures is perhaps tenuous as both are concerned with the contemporary cultural politics of the environment; that is, those power-laden processes through which environmental narratives, images, and meanings are constructed and contested across space and scale, involving assemblages of science, media, culture, nature and politics, as well as actors with various amounts of fame, wealth, and influence (Goodman et al., 2016; Hawkins and Silver, 2017).


This session aims to take stock of current political ecological knowledge on the roles of celebrity, philanthropy, and Nature 2.0 in environmental issues. Papers exploring these literatures and their intersections are welcome.


Paper titles and abstracts (300 words max.), should be submitted to Sandra McCubbin sandra.mccubbin@queensu.ca by December 28.





Brockington, D. (2009). Celebrity and the Environment: Fame, Wealth, and Power in Conservation. London: Zed Books Ltd.


Buscher, B. (2013) Nature 2.0. Geoforum, 44, 1-3.


Buscher, B., Koot, S., Nelson, I.L. 2017. Introduction. Nature 2.0: New media, online activisim and the cyberpolitics of environmental conservation. Geoforum, 79, 111-113.


Goodman, M.K., Littler, J., Brockington, D., and Boykoff, M. (2016). Spectacular environmentalisms: media knowledge and the framing of ecological politics. Environmental Communication, 10(6), 677-688.


Hawkins, R. and Silver, J. (2017). From selfie to #sealfie: Nature 2.0 and the digital cultural politics of an internationally contested resource. Geoforum, 79, 114-123.


Holmes, H. (2012). Biodiversity for Billionaires: Capitalism, Conservation and the Role of Philanthropy in Selling/Saving Nature. Development and Change, 43(1), 185-203.


Prudham, S. (2009). Pimping climate change: Richard Branson, global warming, and the performance of green capitalism. Environment and Planning A, 41, 1594-1613.


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