No. 1 (2023)

Make the Holocene Great Again! Or, Why Is Climate Change Boring?

Michael E. Gardiner
University of Western Ontario, Canada

Published 2023-06-12


  • boredom,
  • climate change,
  • hyperobjects,
  • apocalypticism,
  • nature glut

How to Cite

Gardiner, M. E. (2023). Make the Holocene Great Again! Or, Why Is Climate Change Boring?. Journal of Boredom Studies, (1). Retrieved from


This article addresses the conundrum: if climate change is an “existential threat” to our species and the integrity of our entire planetary ecosystem, why is climate change “boring” for even informed, well-meaning individuals? Three main areas will be addressed. The first task is to discuss how “boredom” itself can be characterized as a relatively coherent and valid analytical concept, and how it might be linked to the climate crisis specifically, through sociology of emotion and psychoanalytical approaches. Second, climate change’s ontological status as what Timothy Morton calls “hyperobjects” will be examined – entities so complex, and extended across almost limitless time and space, they cannot be comprehended by our usual analogies, perceptions, and metrics. Boredom looms here as affective and libidinal disengagement protecting the psyche from the hyperobject’s unsettling effects of cognitive overreach and emotional dissonance. The third theme is “climate apocalypticism”: endless reiterations of our dystopian future, it is argued, evince a monotonous similarity, resulting in emotional exhaustion, melancholia, and morose resignation – and ultimately boredom. The article’s conclusion will focus on some of the ways in which “climate boredom” might prompt a more critical and engaged collective responses to the climate emergency.


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