Facing Down Climate Grief

By Jennifer Atkinson

The age of climate crisis is upon us, and grief and anxiety are on the rise. This pilot episode of my podcast Facing It introduces the emotional burden of climate change, and why despair leaves so many people unable to respond to this existential threat. Overcoming that paralysis is the first step in moving to action, and yet official climate strategies rarely address this emotional toll. Meanwhile, frontline communities – particularly people of color, indigenous communities, and other historically-marginalized groups – are experiencing the heaviest mental health impacts of climate disruption and displacement.

Facing It is a podcast about climate grief and eco anxiety. It explores the psychological toll of climate change, and why our emotional responses are key to addressing this existential threat. In each episode of Facing It, I explore a different way we can harness despair to activate meaningful solutions.

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Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is an Associate Professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her seminars on Eco-Grief & Climate Anxiety have been featured in the New York TimesWashington Post Magazine, the Los Angeles TimesNBC News, the Seattle Times, Grist, the Washington Post, KUOW and many other outlets. Jennifer is currently working on a book titled An Existential Toolkit for the Climate Crisis (co-edited with Sarah Jaquette Ray) that offers strategies to help young people navigate the emotional toll of climate breakdown.

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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