On recycling, green growth and other dangerous fantasies

For many years we’ve known about our collective effect on the planet and its consequences. Still, many pretend nothing is wrong. We would rather dream of carbon offsetting, circular economies, ‘green growth’ – of a world where everything can be cleaned, recycled or resolved with magical technology. Anything to stop us from making real change. In 'Apocalypsophy', Lisa Doeland confronts us with our various ‘green dreams’.

Original title
Apocalypsofie. Over recycling, groene groei en andere gevaarlijke fantasieën
Lisa Doeland

Take, for example, the sheer scale of the climate crisis: it’s too big, it’s unstoppable. This fatalism is dangerous, writes Doeland, not only because there is so much to do, but because it imagines the end – of humanity, biodiversity, the planet – too simply. As though everything will finish with a bang. This too is a form of denial. When, instead, we acknowledge the catastrophe has already happened, and is going on continually around us, we can work towards a future beyond impending doom.

Rather than reassure, Doeland offers tools for living as best as we can among the ruins. Bodily engagement is necessary, as is local concrete action. We must learn to see ourselves as part of the cycle of life, death and waste, and learn to die out – perhaps the goal of all philosophy. Doeland builds her argument across nine chapters, turning to thinkers like Srecko Horvat, Timothy Morton, Anna Tsing, Val Plumwood, Donna Harraway, Bruno Latour, Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin, as well as works of art, film and literature from popular culture.

  • An empowering, clear-eyed philosophy in which the climate apocalypse has already happened

  • Offers tools for living among the ruins and reimagining another future

Year of publication

Page count

Ten Have

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Hayo Deinum
Sample translation available

Full of wonderful metaphors and intriguing provocations.

De Standaard

Doeland skillfully makes mincemeat of unrealistic ideas.


Doeland offers a welcome argument against overly rosy pictures and, more surprisingly, against overly gloomy expectations. Yes, a lot is being lost, but there is also something to be salvaged.

Lisa Doeland
Lisa Doeland (b. 1982) works at Radboud University and the University of Amsterdam and did her doctoral research on waste. She was previously a programme creator at Radboud Reflects. 'Apocalypsophy' is her first book.
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