The Roads Project

The Politics of Roads and Mobility on Reunion Island: Anthropology, Befuddlement and Climate Change

The Politics of Roads and Mobility on Reunion Island: Anthropology, Befuddlement and Climate Change

Prof. Ed Simpson:  This paper is given structure by the history and geography of a short stretch of ever-expanding road on the French island of Reunion. Transport produces around a quarter of global carbon emissions, of which cars belch the greatest proportion. Consequently, investment in roads increases carbon-powered traffic and runs counter to the direction climate change scientists and sections of the United Nations think we should be travelling. This paper contributes a comparative case study to the literature on climate-change befuddlement and indecision, examining islandic debates about mobility, cars and roads. The material demonstrates how climate-change thought is influenced by the inertia of ideas and institutions, historical commitments and ways of understanding, and the ways power and opposition operate in any particular location. The material also shows that the first wave of climate-change anxiety has crashed onto the beach, its power, energy and persuasion now being sucked like white-noise back through the pebbles and out to open and untroubled waters, which, off the coast of Reunion at least, are inhabited by man-eating sharks.

 

 

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