Climate Reparations

with Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò



For its June event, the maat Climate Collective has invited Georgetown University Philosophy Professor Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò to discuss his research concerns related to climate reparations. How might we consider, and work towards, the emergence of reparatory futures in the aftermath of colonialism and trans-Atlantic slavery, even as we struggle simultaneously with the inequalities and disproportionate impacts of contemporary climate breakdown? How might carbon removal, more than a mere neoliberal technofix, function as a means of repairing the past harms of environmental violence, or as a mode of restoring relationships in new fair and equitable worlds? The Climate Collective discusses these and other pressing subjects related to the contemporary climate emergency.

— Climate Collective: T. J. Demos, Molemo Moiloa, Susan Schuppli and Paulo Tavares


The Climate Emergency > Emergence public programme initiative energises critical analyses and creative proposals in moving beyond catastrophism and toward the emergence of environmentally sustainable futures. Interdisciplinary in breadth and international in scope, the programme is conceptualised by the newly-formed 2021 Climate Collective: T. J. Demos (USA), chair and chief-curator, Molemo Moiloa (South Africa), Susan Schuppli (UK), Paulo Tavares (Brazil), geared toward assembling diverse cultural practitioners working at the intersection of experimental arts and political ecology. 


As part of the programme taking place from April until December 2021, the Climate Collective has curated an online video screening series featuring films by a variety of international and local practitioners around themes addressed in the ongoing events. 

“maat Explorations” is a programme framework featuring an ongoing series of exhibitions, public and educational projects delving into the multi-faceted subject of environmental transformation from various scholarly and experimental vantage points – it brings philosophical and political perspectives forward, as well as sociocultural and technological investigations interwoven in speculative and critical practices in the arts and design at large. 


Central to the discursive and critical effort of “maat Explorations” is the establishment of the Climate Collective, a rotating group of experts in the expanded field of contemporary art, design and technology that will each year propose a refreshed vision on the connection between creative practices, ecological thought and politics.



Illustration: Lisa Hartje Moura.



Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò’s work draws on the Black radical tradition, contemporary philosophy of language, contemporary social science, German transcendental philosophy, materialist thought, and histories of activism and activist thinkers. He is currently writing a book entitled Reconsidering Reparations that puts forward a “constructive” philosophical argument for reparations, one that emphasizes self-determination rooted in historically informed perspectives on distributive and environmental justice. He also writes public philosophy, including articles exploring the intersections between climate justice and colonialism.