Decolonising Climate Change: A Call for Beyond-Human Imaginaries and Knowledge Generation




Pacific, Samoa, Papua, Indigeneity, climate change, more-than-human, imagination, storytelling, transdisciplinarity, decolonisation


This article calls for transdisciplinary, experimental, and decolonial imaginations of climate change and Pacific futures in an age of great planetary undoing. Drawing from our personal and academic knowledge of the Pacific from West Papua to Samoa, we highlight the need for radical forms of imagination that are grounded in an ethos of inclusivity, participation, and humility. Such imaginations must account for the perspectives, interests, and storied existences of both human and beyond-human communities of life across their multiple and situated contexts, along with their co-constitutive relations. We invite respectful cross-pollination across Indigenous epistemologies, secular scientific paradigms, and transdisciplinary methodologies in putting such an imagination into practice. In doing so, we seek to destabilise the prevailing hegemony of secular science over other ways of knowing and being in the world. We draw attention to the consequential agency of beyond-human lifeforms in shaping local and global worlds and to the power of experimental, emplaced storytelling in conveying the lively and lethal becoming-withs that animate an unevenly shared and increasingly vulnerable planet. The wisdom of our kindred plants, animals, elements, mountains, forests, oceans, rivers, skies, and ancestors are part of this story. Finally, we reflect on the structural challenges in decolonising climate change and associated forms of knowledge production in light of past and ongoing thefts of sovereignty over lands, bodies, and ecosystems across the tropics.

Author Biographies

Sophie Chao, University of Sydney

Dr Sophie Chao is Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sydney’s School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry.  Her research explores the intersections of Indigeneity, ecology, capitalism, health, and justice in the Pacific. Sophie previously worked for Indigenous rights organization Forest Peoples Programme. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Oriental Studies and Master of Science in Social Anthropology from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from Macquarie University (Cum Laude). Her research has been published in journals including Cultural Anthropology, Environmental Humanities, Ethnos, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and American Ethnologist. For more information, visit

Dion Enari, Auckland University of Technology, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Dion Enari is an Aotearoa/New Zealand-born Samoan. He is a Lecturer at the School of Sport and Recreation, Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences at Auckland University of Technology and a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University, Australia. His research areas include qualitative methodology, Pacific studies, decolonization, transnationalism, and Indigenous studies. Dion is the Bond University 3-Minute Thesis Winner 2018. His research has been published in journals including Oceania, Journal of Global Indigeneity, Media International Australia Journal, and Journal of Indigenous Social Development. Dion holds the high talking chief title Lefaoali’i from Lepa, Samoa. For more information please visit



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How to Cite

Chao, S., & Enari, D. (2021). Decolonising Climate Change: A Call for Beyond-Human Imaginaries and Knowledge Generation. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 20(2), 32–54.