Slow causality: The function of narrative in an age of climate change
Both theorists and activists confront the challenge of representing the often untraceable causalities of climate change and, specifically, of linking action to effect over long periods. Nineteenth-century authors and scientists, faced with their own long temporal spans, devised strategies for representing the slow causalities of geological and generational processes, for which empirical evidence was often scarce. For writers like Charles Lyell, Charles Babbage, Samuel Smiles, and George Eliot, slowness served not only as a description but also as a narrative strategy, a means of inviting belief in, and consent to, the act of tracing causes to their distant ends. They use narrative to reimagine the relationship between evidence and causality, with the potential to influence the way we think about climate change debates today.
Choi, T.Y. (Tina Young), & Leckie, B. (2018). Slow causality: The function of narrative in an age of climate change. Victorian Studies, 60(4), 565–587. doi:10.2979/victorianstudies.60.4.03