Some resources for coping with climate grief
Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Below is a range of online resources that I have put together which speak to the grief about the climate emergency that many of us are now feeling and talking about openly.
My suggestion is not to tackle all of them at once, but to read, watch, listen and make notes before pausing, talking about it, sharing it with friends, and then proceeding into more reading and further action.
A brilliant resource: contains a comprehensive list of books and podcasts. Also an excellent guide about what you can do practically.
As above, also contains excellent suggestions of what to do now . Here’s an extract:
For those of us who cannot seek political power, we will have to put all of our talents and skills into this every day. We have to use whatever our gifts and whatever role we play in society and bend them to this issue. We have to reframe how we see ourselves and the meaning of our work in the world. Even if we’re not climate scientists, or activists, or politicians, we can still take heroic action in pursuit of averting collapse. We have to demand this heroism of ourselves and each other.
If you’re a writer, then you have to write about this. If it you’re an artist, then you have to make art about it. If you’re an Uber driver, then talk to your passengers about it and everyday bring someone on board. If you’re an entrepreneur, then start a non-carbon company and infiltrate business associations, convince your customers to act. If it means you find an opportunity to sabotage something that your unique position gives you access to—a fossil fuel executive’s business lunch, an auction of public land, a politician’s press conference, pipeline construction—the heroic thing to do is take the risk of penalties in committing that act of sabotage, however small it feels. Support someone who wants to run for office or start a non-carbon company. Some of us will have to go to jail and live with the trauma of that for the rest of our lives. Every single day, in our jobs and lives, we have to find creative ways to do something, anything, that can work towards not only avoiding collapse, but building a new world. This new world, one capable of equitably hosting life on earth, must be built on our heroism. It will only be birthed by the pangs of sacrifice. It will emerge out of the joys of mutual support and interdependence.
A short video from BBC Ideas explaining the concept of climate change grief.
by Samuel Miller-McDonald
As above, contains a really great list of actions that we can all take. Here are the first four:
So what are important actions for impacting climate change that people without access to discretionary income can take? In no particular order, here are some ideas:
Join a movement: Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement, The Climate Mobilization, DSA Ecosocialists, and 350.org are a few examples. These groups all have local chapters. Email, call, or go say hi to the organizers in your area, go to the events, get deeply involved.Block fossil fuel infrastructure or other fossil fuel practices. Doing this in the context of a movement is better than going it alone, but it is one of those few individual actions where doing it alone could actually have some outsize positive impact. Starting to get involved in organizations like those above can help point you toward this kind of sabotage. You can also disrupt oil mogul meetings.Self-educate about this problem, its solutions, its consequences, and all the huge ramifications of collapse so as to internalize what’s at stake.Talk with everyone you know about it, at work, at home, at holidays. Engage people in a way that’s welcoming and compassionate, but also truthful.
by Eric Holthaus:
What we need now is a major mobilization on climate change. That would require, in the words of the IPCC, “rapid and far-reaching transitions” in “all aspects of society.” We’re taking much more than just solar panels and reusable shopping bags here. After decades of delay, the scale of changes that are necessary will force us to rethink everything. To put in the changes necessary, we have to be able to connect our emotions to our actions. We have to process our grief. We have to somehow move through it, and we have to do all that together.
by Michaela Cavanagh
Ecological grief is the grief that’s felt in response to experienced or anticipated ecological loss. It may arise due to acute environmental disasters. For example, one in six survivors of Hurricane Katrina met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, and crop-damaging heat waves have been shown to lead to increased suicide rates in India. But grief can also stem from stress and anxiety associated with slow, creeping changes in one’s environment — feelings that many of us are experiencing as the winters become uncannily warmer and extreme weather events become more frequent.
by Kristy Dahl
Contains an excellent summary of why 2018 was such a disastrous year for our climate. Read and absorb her ‘grief graph’.
by George Monbiot
A call to arms in honour of climate change barrister and campaigner Polly Higgins.
Professor Jem Bendell talks about how we need to adapt our lifestyles in advance of the effects of the climate emergency becoming part of our everyday lives.
I put this speech last so that you have somewhere to go to inspire you to feel angry again.