This article analyzes how young people in the climate justice movement cultivate a prefigurative culture centered on justice as a response to the threat of climate change. Employing grounded theory and drawing on data from in-depth interviews with 29 youth activists and participant observation in Santa Barbara County, California, the birthplace of both the environmental movement and offshore oil drilling, I argue that four key values—relationships, accessibility, intersectionality, and community—enable movement building, a stated goal of the climate justice movement. These values emerge from interviewees’ words and practices. Drawing on John Foran’s (2014) notion of political cultures of creation, I conceptualize these values and the practices that embody them as constituting a “climate justice culture of creation” that shapes and is shaped by ideas, experiences, social relations, and the reality of a changing atmosphere. These values, and movement building, are about creating alternative futures—cultures that are not dependent on inequality and fossil fuels.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Grosse C. 2019. Climate justice movement building: values and cultures of creation in Santa Barbara, California. Social Sciences 8(3): 79. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030079