4 episodes

The age of climate crisis is upon us, and grief and anxiety are on the rise. This series explores the emotional burden of climate change, and why despair leaves so many people unable to respond to our existential threat. Overcoming that paralysis is the first step in moving to action, and yet official climate strategies rarely address the emotional toll of climate grief and eco anxiety. 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.
Written and narrated by Jennifer Atkinson
Music by Roberto David Rusconi
Produced by Intrasonus UK
Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is a professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, where she leads seminars that help students cope with the despair, anger, and anxiety that arise from environmental loss and mass extinction. Her teaching and research have helped activists, scientists, and students build resilience to stay engaged in climate solutions and avoid burnout. She has also spoken to audiences across the U.S. about the global mental health crisis arising from climate disruption, and advocated for addressing emotional impacts in the fight for environmental justice. This podcast introduces some of the experiences and insights behind that work, and explores how we can move the public to action by addressing the psychological roots of our unprecedented ecological loss.
"To be numb to the world is another form of suicide."
 -Terry Tempest Williams
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Facing It Jennifer Atkinson

    • Nature
    • 5.0, 8 Ratings

The age of climate crisis is upon us, and grief and anxiety are on the rise. This series explores the emotional burden of climate change, and why despair leaves so many people unable to respond to our existential threat. Overcoming that paralysis is the first step in moving to action, and yet official climate strategies rarely address the emotional toll of climate grief and eco anxiety. 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.
Written and narrated by Jennifer Atkinson
Music by Roberto David Rusconi
Produced by Intrasonus UK
Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is a professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, where she leads seminars that help students cope with the despair, anger, and anxiety that arise from environmental loss and mass extinction. Her teaching and research have helped activists, scientists, and students build resilience to stay engaged in climate solutions and avoid burnout. She has also spoken to audiences across the U.S. about the global mental health crisis arising from climate disruption, and advocated for addressing emotional impacts in the fight for environmental justice. This podcast introduces some of the experiences and insights behind that work, and explores how we can move the public to action by addressing the psychological roots of our unprecedented ecological loss.
"To be numb to the world is another form of suicide."
 -Terry Tempest Williams
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Episode 4: Coping with Climate Despair in Four Steps

    Episode 4: Coping with Climate Despair in Four Steps

    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 mobilizations. Yet in the face of this daunting task and the existential threat of climate disruption (both present and future) many find themselves 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. 
    "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
    - The Talmud
    Written and narrated by Jennifer Atkinson
    Music by Roberto David Rusconi
    Produced by Intrasonus UK
    Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
    Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is a professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, where she leads seminars that help students cope with the despair, anger, and anxiety that arise from environmental loss and mass extinction. Her teaching and research have helped activists, scientists, and students build resilience to stay engaged in climate solutions and avoid burnout. She has also spoken to audiences across the U.S. about the global mental health crisis arising from climate disruption, and advocated for addressing emotional impacts in the fight for environmental justice. This episode introduces some of the experiences and insights behind that work, and explores how we can move the public to action by addressing the psychological roots of our unprecedented ecological loss.


    References and Further Reading:Mike Pearl. 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life. Vice. Jul 11, 2019
    Zhiwa Woodbury. "Climate Trauma: Toward a New Taxonomy of Trauma." Ecopsychology. January 2019
    Emily Johnston. Loving a vanishing world. Medium. May 9, 2019.
    "Columbia University experiment": J. M. Darley & B. Latané. "Bystander intervention in emergencies: Diffusion of responsibility". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 8: 377–383 (1968)
    Julia Rosen. "Feeling distressed about climate change? Here’s how to manage it." Los Angeles Times. Jan. 11, 2020
    Leslie Davenport, Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017.
    Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. Climate Change in the American Mind: April 2020. May 19, 2020
    George Marshall. Don't Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. Bloomsbury, 2015
    Reene Lertzman. How Can We Talk About Global Warming? Sierra, Jul 19 2017
    Florence Williams. The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. 2017
    Nutsford, Pearson, and Kingham. An Ecological Study Investigating the Association Between Access to Urban Green Space and Mental Health. Public Health. Vol 127; 11 (2013)
    Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light. 1988
    Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone. Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy. 2012
    Vaclav Havel. Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Huizdala. Vintage, 1991.
    Donatella Meadows. Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System. The Sustainability Institute, 1999.

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    • 23 min
    Episode 3: Eco-Grief: Our Greatest Ally?

    Episode 3: Eco-Grief: Our Greatest Ally?

    If you suffer from climate grief, you know what it's like to feel hopeless, alone, or bewildered by society's business-as-usual response to our existential threat. Wanting those feelings to go away is normal, but grief can lead to awareness and compassion in ways that actually advance political action and climate solutions. Paradoxically, grief can also provide a kind of strength and clarity when conventional hopes are shaken. As climate activist Tim DeChristopher once said, “In happy times the weight of despair is oppressive, but in stormy times that weight is an anchor that can get you through.” This episode explores the value of grief as a way to overcome collective denial as we move into an uncertain climate future. While most environmentalists are urging us to focus on hope, Dr. Jennifer Atkinson points out that grief and hope aren't mutually exclusive, and for many, grief may even be our best ally in an age of climate crisis
    "Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel you are beyond that pain."
    —Kahlil Gibran
    Written and narrated by Jennifer Atkinson
    Music by Roberto David Rusconi
    Produced by Intrasonus UK
    Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
    Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is a professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, where she leads seminars that help students cope with the despair, anger, and anxiety that arise from environmental loss and mass extinction. Her teaching and research have helped activists, scientists, and students build resilience to stay engaged in climate solutions and avoid burnout. She has also spoken to audiences across the U.S. about the global mental health crisis arising from climate disruption, and advocated for addressing emotional impacts in the fight for environmental justice. This episode introduces some of the experiences and insights behind that work, and explores how we can move the public to action by addressing the psychological roots of our unprecedented ecological loss.


    References and Further Reading:
    Jalal al-Din Rumi. The Essential Rumi. HarperOne; Reprint edition, May, 2004
    Carl Zimmer. Birds Are Vanishing From North America. New York Times, Sept. 19, 2019
    Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating.’ May 6, 2019
    Kulp, S.A., Strauss, B.H. New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Nature Communications 10, 4844 (2019).
    Emily Atkin. The Blood-Dimmed Tide: Climate change is poised to alter the face of global conflict. The New Republic, September 16, 2019.
    Brad Plumer. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Hit a Record in 2019, Even as Coal Fades. New York Times, Dec 3, 2019.
    Paola Rosa-Aquino. The life-altering, world-ending topic they’re still not teaching you about in school. Grist. June 4, 2019.
    David Corn. It’s the End of the World as They Know It: The distinct burden of being a climate scientist. Mother Jones, July 8, 2019.
    Head, Lesley, & Harada, T. Keeping the heart a long way from the brain: The emotional labour of climate scientists. Emotion, Space & Society, 24, 34–41 (2017).
    Livia Albeck-Ripka. Why Lost Ice Means Lost Hope for an Inuit Village. New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017
    Indigenous Peoples, Lands, & Resources. Bennett, T. M., Maynard, S., Cochran, P., Gough, R., Lynn, K., Maldonado, J., Voggesser, G. Wotkyns, S., & Cozzetto, K. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment (297- 317). U.S. Global Change Research Program. 2014.
    Cunsolo, Ashlee. "Climate Change as the Work of Mourning." Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Loss &

    • 17 min
    Episode 2: Why Climate Emotions Matter

    Episode 2: Why Climate Emotions Matter

    Is reason or emotion more important in driving climate action? Will solutions to mass extinction come from the head or the heart? Or are these binaries themselves part of the problem? While some climate activists argue that we should focus on facts instead of feelings, others know that our intense emotional response to climate chaos is far from irrational. Moreover, feelings like anger, hope, anxiety, and fear profoundly shape our perceptions of the world, and can motivate us to act or shut down and retreat. To better understand how those mental and emotional states relate to environmental crisis and public perceptions of risk, this episode explores why emotions matter in the climate battle.
    This segment also looks at the work of Rachel Carson to explore how narrative can rouse the public to action, and draws on insights from evolutionary psychology to examine the ancient relation between mind and environment as expressed in feelings of love and wonder toward the natural world.
    "It is not half so important to know as to feel."
    - Rachel Carson
    Written and narrated by Jennifer Atkinson
    Music by Roberto David Rusconi
    Produced by Intrasonus UK
    Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
    Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is a professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, where she leads seminars that help students cope with the despair, anger, and anxiety that arise from environmental loss and mass extinction. Her teaching and research have helped activists, scientists, and students build resilience to stay engaged in climate solutions and avoid burnout. She has also spoken to audiences across the U.S. about the global mental health crisis arising from climate disruption, and advocated for addressing emotional impacts in the fight for environmental justice. This episode introduces some of the experiences and insights behind that work, and explores how we can move the public to action by addressing the psychological roots of our unprecedented ecological loss.


    References and Further Reading: 
    Katherine Long. Feeling it: UW Bothell class helps students face emotional impact of a warming planet. Seattle Times, March 13, 2018
     
    Jennifer Atkinson, Addressing climate grief makes you a badass, not a snowflake. High Country News. May 29, 2018.
    Rachel Carson. Silent Spring. The New Yorker, 1962.
    David Roberts. "Does hope inspire more action on climate change than fear? We don’t know." Vox, Dec 2017.
     
    Michael B. Smith "Silence, Miss Carson!" Science, Gender, and the Reception of "Silent Spring"
    Feminist Studies. Vol. 27, No. 3 (Autumn, 2001), pp. 733-752
     
    Eliza Griswold. How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental Movement. New York Times, Sept. 21, 2012
     
    Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating.’ May 6, 2019
     
    Michael McCarthy. The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy. New York Review Books
    2016
     
    Walt Whitman. When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer.

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    • 17 min
    Episode 1: Facing Down Climate Grief

    Episode 1: Facing Down Climate Grief

    The age of climate crisis is upon us, and grief and anxiety are on the rise. Our pilot episode 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.
    "To be numb to the world is another form of suicide."
     -Terry Tempest Williams
    Written and narrated by Jennifer Atkinson
    Music by Roberto David Rusconi
    Produced by Intrasonus UK
    Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
    Dr. Jennifer Atkinson is a professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, where she leads seminars that help students cope with the despair, anger, and anxiety that arise from environmental loss and mass extinction. Her teaching and research have helped activists, scientists, and students build resilience to stay engaged in climate solutions and avoid burnout. She has also spoken to audiences across the U.S. about the global mental health crisis arising from climate disruption, and advocated for addressing emotional impacts in the fight for environmental justice. This episode introduces some of the experiences and insights behind that work, and explores how we can move the public to action by addressing the psychological roots of our unprecedented ecological loss.


    References and Further Reading:
    American Psychological Association, Climate Change's Toll On Mental Health. 2017 
    Making the Connection: Climate Changes Mental Health. Mollie Marti, PhD, JD, Susan Clayton, PhD, MS, and Lise Van Susteren, MD. American Public Health Association. 2019
    The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program. GlobalChange.Gov, 2016
    Susan Clayton. Mental health risk and resilience among climate scientists. Nature Climate Change 8, 260–261 (2018).
    Susan Saulny. A Legacy of the Storm: Depression and Suicide. New York Times. June 21, 2006
    Alison C. McLeish and Kevin S. Del Ben. Symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress disorder in an outpatient population before and after Hurricane Katrina. October 29, 2007
    Ashlee Cunsolo and N. Ellis. Hope and Mourning in the Anthropocene: Understanding Ecological Grief. The Conversation. 2018
    Ashlee Cunsolo and N. Ellis. Ecological Grief as a Mental Health Response to Climate Change-related Loss. Nature Climate Change, 8:275–281. 2018
    Kristina Dahl. Feeling Blue About Climate Change? You’re Not Alone. Union of Concerned Scientists. EcoWatch. 2018
    Clayton Aldern. How climate change is messing with your mind. Crosscut. August 28, 2018.
    Livia Albeck-Ripka. Why Lost Ice Means Lost Hope for an Inuit Village. New York Times, Nov. 25, 2017.
    Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ 2019.
    Glenn Albrecht. "The age of solastalgia." The Conversation. Aug 2012.
    Ciara O'Rourke. Climate Change’s Hidden Victim: Your Mental Health. Medium, Jan 2019.
    Heather Hansman. The 4 Stages of Climate Grief. Outside, Nov 8, 2019.

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    • 15 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

Mogi88 ,

Permission to feel for our earth

It’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel like our efforts to improve and restore the earth is retroactive and won’t make a big enough difference. This podcast is helping me to recognize and accept those feelings. And giving me strength to keep moving forward vs giving up. Jennifer’s view on emotion is precisely inline with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Thank you for helping me connect the emotion I so easily feel for humanity to nature.

Sequoia TreeHugger ,

Eco Grief and Climate Anxiety

First podcast I’ve heard to tackle eco grief and climate anxiety. Awesome!

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