Climate change is slow violence. Deforestation is slow violence. Oil spills are slow violence. The environmental aftermath of war is slow violence. In his influential 2011 book Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Rob Nixon seeks to illuminate the “attritional lethality” of many of these forms of harm. Nixon also explores how the slowness of the violence of environmental disasters poses problems for climate communications, or the work of conveying the impact and importance of anthropogenic carbon emissions. Nixon notes that slow violence “is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive.” Therefore it requires “creative ways of drawing public attention to catastrophic acts that are ‘low in instant spectacle but high in long term effects.’”

Defined by Andrew Michael Gorin