Colonialism, Coloniality, and Climate Science Meeting and Workshop

picture of the front of the Royal Society building

A workshop organized by Rohan Deb Roy, Ted Shepherd and Joy Singarayer from the University of Reading’s Department of History and Department of Meteorology with the support of the Walker Institute.

Colonialism has widely acknowledged legacies in both the cause of the climate crisis and the inequality of the harms it is causing. But what about the links between colonialism and climate science? How does colonialism, both past and present, shape contemporary practices in climate science? What are the ways in which institutions both perpetuate and challenge these practices?

This workshop addressed these questions by drawing on interdisciplinary expertise from climate scientists, historians, and geographers. We started from the premise that social practices within science serve as tools that objectify, potentially reinforcing structures of political inequality.  From this perspective, we reflected on how colonialism has shaped climate and related sciences in the past, and how coloniality is shaping it today. We further devised inclusive pedagogical frameworks which will facilitate a deeper comprehension and critique of colonial influences and helped envisage a just and equitable course for the future of climate science.