Michelle Bastian deposited Is ‘long term thinking’ a trap?: Chronowashing, temporal narcissism and the time machines of racism in the group Environmental Humanities on Humanities Commons 5 months, 2 weeks ago
In this provocation, I investigate the notion of long term thinking, as a notion of ‘sustaining time’, which identifies failures in dominant conceptions of time and proposes an alternative that is thought to be better suited for responding to current environmental crises. Drawing on close analyses of two examples, I argue for a deeper understanding of what we might call ‘chronowashing’. Like the more familiar green-washing, where environmental issues are hidden by claims to be addressing the problem, I explore how these examples of long-term thinking distract from extractivism, racism and environmental injustice, making it harder to address the complexities involved. In particular, they can provide a veneer of environmental concern that enables a disconnect from the work of building more equitable forms of relation. As a contrast I ask what is lost when we diagnose a problem as arising due to ‘short term thinking’ and propose ‘long term thinking’ as the solution? Against chrono-washed environmental time(s), I argue for more complex approaches that explicitly take into account the temporalities of inequality, political organisation, ethical responsibilities and much else. I engage with approaches to time that foreground the work needed to create time and move ethically with(in) it, including Charles W. Mills’ ‘white time’ and Kyle Powys Whyte’s kinship time. I suggest that a stronger emphasis on the temporality of community, solidarity and coalition – versus what Deborah Bird Rose and James Hatley have described as ‘temporal narcissism’ – can better foreground the kinds of work that needs to be done, particularly by those with privilege.