Radical Hope: Truth, Virtue, and Hope for What Is Left in Extinction Rebellion

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30 Scopus citations


This paper examines expressed hopelessness among environmental activists in Extinction Rebellion. While activists claim that they have lost all hope for a future without global warming and species extinction, through despair emerges a new hope for saving what can still be saved—a hope for what is left. This radical hope, emerging from despair, may make Extinction Rebellion even more effective. Drawing from personal interviews with 25 Extinction Rebellion activists in the United Kingdom and the published work of other Extinction Rebellion activists, this paper identifies signs of radical hope. While activists have cast off false hope and passive hope, a new hope for what is still possible remains. This hope is based on virtue ethics: doing what is right in the moment, rather than being attached to a desired outcome. This drives forward activism despite the results. Through their principle of regenerative culture, Extinction Rebellion activists learn to support each other and be prepared for a more turbulent and challenging future. Through a regenerative culture they can salvage and repair what is left and sustain radical hope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-504
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Issue number3-6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Activism
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Despair
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • Hope
  • Virtue ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • History
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Environmental Science


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