Under the weather: a dive into the uncertainty of climate change, and its impact on our state of mind.
Climate change felt like something from the future. At the edge of our consciousness. Something that we think of sometimes, that seems to be at a distance. Like a light, but persistent, background noise.
It was something you could push away, put away for later. Like a chore you’ve been procrastinating on.
But lately, it feels that it has invaded our present. We get reminders all the time. Mighty glaciers that we contemplated on old sepia pictures, that now are a fraction of what they used to. Like ghosts from the past. Heat waves like never seen before. Long period of drought in historically wet regions. Intense rain and frequent storms. It seems futile to list all the consequences we’re already seeing today.
Climate change has slowly but surely invaded our reality.
And it comes at a price. We’re feeling under the weather. Literally this time. It started with me too. I have been an activist. Or an earth advocate maybe. For as long as I can remember. And I always thought I could dissociate the fights for the planet, from my personal life. Like two separate entities. I thought for a while t
hat I could advocate, try to convince, protest, debate, trying to alert on our biodiversity and climate crisis, and keep it separated from my daily life. From my interactions with my friends, my family, my loved ones. But everything is connected. And nothing is impermeable. I grew tired. Sometimes I felt useless. Or powerless. Numb. Even pessimistic. And worried. It creeped on me without a true warning. Until one day I realized that it greatly affected my wellbeing. My mental health and my relationship to others and to the world was affected. I realized that I needed to do something to get out of the spiral that I didn’t see coming. I sought professional support to understand that phenomenon. It made me realized that I needed to take care of myself, and my nervous system, before I could take good care of the world around me. It took some time, and some help, to coddle my nervous system back to a healthy state.
During that time, I realized that a lot of persons around me suffered from similar symptoms. Climate change was getting real for everyone, and we were left with many questions.
How to cope with it? What can we do as individuals? Isn’t it the government, or the big polluting corporations, that should do something? What’s my responsibility in this problem? Should I feel guilty? Should I just look away? Everyone has pre-existing reflexes when it comes to deal with an issue, especially a complex, broad, diffuse and worrying one.
You might just automatically and subconsciously dismiss it. Avoid conversations around it. Avoid the discomfort and the conflicting chats. A lot of people also get into paralysis. Feeling powerless. Or discouraged. Numb. Not knowing where to start. Or how to feel effective.
Some will feel defensive when the subject is on the table. Why picking on me? There is always worst. I’m just trying my best.
The point is, it’s hard to navigate those feelings. It can be overwhelming.
This complex phenomenon has been theorized. It’s called eco-grief. Or climate anxiety.
It is a sense of loss that arises from experiencing or learning about environmental destruction or climate change.
The good news is that there is a lot of solutions, and resources, to tackle that phenomenon. It relies on kindness, compassion, self-care, sense of community and empowerment through positive actions.
With Thuja, we thought our role isn’t only to tackle greenwashing, or diving deep into some brand’s sustainable practices. We want to help people around us be more sustainable, connected to nature, and aware of climate change.
That is why we’re having an event around eco-grief and climate anxiety this month in Revelstoke (Eco-grief workshop – Coping with the uncertainty of climate change | Facebook). It will be a guided workshop and safe conversation to address this issue. An opportunity to learn about solutions to build happiness, resilience, and community-oriented climate actions. This workshop is mainly based on the Work That Reconnects Network. Based on the work from Buddhist edler and activist Johana Macy (Joanna Macy, Root Teacher – Work That Reconnects Network)
It will be facilitated by Malin Christensson (Our educators – The Forest Path), a long-time environmental activist, educator and eco-therapist and John Alton, earth activist and counsellor.
We also want to provide ressources to help you if you’re experiencing eco-grief and climate anxiety. Here is a few links to help you in your research and feel supported :
– Uflourish Guidebook Coping wih Eco-Grief (2).pdf
– The Work that Reconnects: Work That Reconnects Network
-Climate Psychology Alliance: www.climatepsychologyalliance.org/
– Eco-spiritual Direction & Work that Reconnects YYC Practice
group: firstname.lastname@example.org : www.refugiaretreats.com
– The Good Grief Network: www.thegoodgriefnetwork.com
– Mind and Life Institute: www.mindandlife.org
– Yoga for Ecological Grief Online Course: https://a-restfulspace.teachable.com/
– Land Back Manifesto: https://landback.org/manifesto/
– Decolonize Workbooks: https://nahaneecreative.com/ta7taliyasshop
– Honor the Earth: https://honorearth.org/
- Podcast: Facing it, hosted by Dr. Jennifer Watkinson : Podcast — Jennifer W. Atkinson, Ph.D. (drjenniferatkinson.com)