Coping with Climate Despair in Four Steps

By Jennifer Atkinson

With the urgency of our climate crisis increasing by the day, many scientists and climate leaders are calling for global action on the scale of World-War II mobilization: a swift and comprehensive overhaul of our existing consumer economy and the energy systems driving us off a cliff. And yet as the planetary fires close in, many people remain paralyzed by fear, hopelessness or cynicism.

Luckily, there are steps we can all take to overcome despair and start contributing to solutions. This episode outlines 4 basic strategies to beat the climate blues and become an agent of change.

(Top image by Appolinary Kalashnikova via Unsplash.)

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 PostKUOW 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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