A convergence of crises: COVID-19, climate change and bunkerization

Author ORCID Identifier

Avi BrismanORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5794-0210


Justice Studies

Document Type


Publication Date



Bunkerization, a term often associated with military fortifications on 20th-century battlefields or the fallout shelters of the Cold War, can now refer to the building, buying and selling of artificial environments designed to provide protective and defensive responses to the ecological, military, and political threats of the Anthropocene. As places of elite retreat, however, these are not spartan spaces. This article documents how—for some—forms of bunkerization have emerged as privileged reactions or responses to contemporary environmental crises, such as climate change, by considering the case of last-chance tourism and luxury cruising. In 2020, both climate change and COVID-19 became intertwined as global crises emerging from humans’ troubling relationships with nature. To examine bunkerization as an individualistic reaction to these converging crises, we first outline the challenges presented by COVID-19 and its connections with human exploitation of animals and the environment. We then turn to the particular uses of the environment—in this case, the oceans—as locations of leisure and retreat, and offer an analysis of the image, operations and impact of the luxury cruise industry. In light of our current path of crisis accumulation, we conclude with an urgent call to adopt a more holistic view of planetary public health—one that includes not only humans but also other species and the natural environment.

Journal Title

Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal

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