Animal ABidings: recoverIng from DisastErs in more-than-human communities

ERC Consolidator Grant 2021

What and how can we learn from animals about recovering from disasters? How can we hear them in their own terms, translate their stories, and include their perspectives, in human knowledge about disasters? 

This project explores the resilience of multispecies communities, and their capacities for healing and bouncing back from disasters, through the point of view of nonhuman animals. It departs from the current context of acute climate crisis, which sets the stage for Dantesque scenarios of impending climate-driven disasters such as wildfires, floods, tornados and hurricanes, with related extensive loss of both human and nonhuman lives, liveable dwellings and species extinction. Focusing on wildfires as disasters which challenge previous expert knowledge due to climate change and human exploitation of natural resources, we propose to compare three countries where wildfires have taken on increasingly critical proportions every year: Brazil, Australia and Portugal. 

We address a species gap in our knowledge of disasters, and wildfires in particular, by exploring the possibilities of learning with animals how to live and cope with extreme change and uncertainty in wildfire-prone areas. Drawing on contributions from sociologists, anthropologists, ethologists, biologists and geographers, ABIDE aims at attuning to, translating and including the perspectives, experiences and stories of animals into our knowledge of how multispecies communities can better recover from the traumatic experience of wildfires. In the end, we seek to build the foundations for a new interdisciplinary framework for addressing humans’ and animals’ ability to build and abide in multispecies communities that are more resilient to wildfires and other disasters. In so doing, we aspire to identify the landmarks of a post-species episteme, and thus push forward the frontiers of knowledge of human-animal relations, as well as contribute to a more-than-human governance of disasters

Principal Investigator: Verónica Policarpo


  • Filipa Soares
  • Kuai Shen
  • Nuno Negrões

PhD students:

  • Chiara Beneduce
  • Zeynep Ladin Coşgun

Host Institution: Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa

Project duration: 01.05.2023-30.04.2028

Funding: € 1 999 970.00

ERC, ABIDE, Grant agreement ID
: 101043231, 2023-2028 //