Stressed Environments and Communities

A developing strand of HGRG research examines how environments and communities become stressed, and with what emotional, ecological and earthly consequences.Stress is a common term in ecosystem and human health, which refers to a physical or mental pressure, strain, or tension exerted upon an individual or environment. The concept of stress extends across human and more-than-human communities, encompassing a range of geo-chemical, climatic, economic, toxic, biological and emotional effects. New environmental conditions experienced worldwide are producing unexpected multispecies entanglements and conditions for life-threatening trans-species infections.

The political and ethical questions that guide our research emerge directly from these violent conditions: how is stress disproportionality materialized, experienced, and resisted across multiple lifeworlds? We are concerned not only with contemporary threats posed to skies and seas, infrastructures and architectures, land and life (as well as their historical geographies and multi-scalar interpretation) but with how a shared burden of responsibility can produce socio-spatial conditions for coping, caring and campaigning. We consider research an effective means to lobby for greater socio-environmental justice and to foster solidarities – realised locally and globally – and achieve meaningful impact. Our distinctively geographical approach taken to the study of these stresses is committed to collaborative and interdisciplinary inquiries, learning from alliances in the environmental and medical humanities, environmental activism, political economy, and political ecology. Together, we seek to forge new spaces, impacts, and modes of being-in-common that are less stressed, less fractured, and more caring.