Grief is most often associated with human loss, but it can also apply to our responses to climate change and the destruction of the natural environment. In this roundtable discussion, leading experts in mental health, climate justice, and environmental humanities provide a range of perspectives on climate grief as well as opportunities for growth as we struggle with ecological crisis. Leslie Davenport, Kyle X. Hill, LaUra Schmidt, and Tori Tsui share personal examples of eco-loss they have experienced, the collective experience of this trauma, and how we can navigate a path forward.
Leslie Davenport is a climate psychology educator, consultant, and therapist exploring the intersectionality of climate, health, education, policy, and social justice. Leslie helped shape the document: “Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance,” and authored four books including Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change, and All the Feelings Under the Sun, written for youth through the American Psychological Association. She is an advisor to Post Carbon Institute, Climate Mental Health Network, Integrative Healers Action Network, One Resilient Earth, and co-lead of the Climate Psychology Certification at the California Institute of Integral Studies and faculty with their School of Professional Psychology and Health. www.lesliedavenport.com FB @LeslieDavenportAuthor
Kyle X. Hill
Kyle X. Hill, PhD, MPH is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, lineal descendent of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota; Heipa district) and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (Lakota; White Horse community). Dr. Hill is a licensed psychologist in the state of Minnesota, currently serving as an assistant professor with the University of North Dakota, school of medicine and health sciences, department of Indigenous Health. Most recently, Dr. Hill completed his MPH through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2020. He is active in community-based participatory research with American Indian and First Nations communities in the U.S. and Canada while also collaborating on research projects across social, behavioral and environmental health within Native communities. In particular, his research interests consider the social, political and ecological determinants of health, as well as climate justice and decolonizing health and wellness in Indigenous communities. He currently lives on his Dakota and Anishinaabe traditional homelands in Imnizaska Otunwe (St. Paul), MN. Dr. Hill is also a veteran of the U.S. Army and enjoys travelling in the summer as a grass dancer on the powwow trail.
LaUra (she/her) is the founder of the Good Grief Network and the brain behind the “10-Steps to Resilience & Empowerment in a Chaotic Climate” program and the FLOW Facilitation Training modality. She is a truth seeker, community builder, cultural critic, trainer, program designer, and facilitator. She is a lifelong student, curator, and practitioner of personal and collective resilience strategies. LaUra graduated with a BS in Environmental Studies, Biology, and Religious Studies. Her MS is in Environmental Humanities. She recently earned an “Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy” Certificate through The Embody Lab and a “Climate Psychology” certificate through California Institute of Integral Studies.
In August 2023, LaUra’s book on Good Grief Network’s unique 10-Step program called How to Live in a Chaotic Climate: 10 Steps to Reconnect with Ourselves, Our Communities, and Our Planet will be released through Shambhala Publications.
Tori is a self-described 'bad' activist who focuses on climate change, mental health and anti-racism. She utilizes her platform to educate and spread awareness of intersectional climate activism and mental health, in an accessible manner that resonates with her followers and new audiences alike. Tori speaks openly about her own struggles with BPD and PMDD. Her recent work includes working with a group of activists, alongside musician Billie Eilish, on the digital January cover of Vogue. Tori has previously worked with Stella McCartney to model as a climate activist for their FW19 campaign. She was invited to a roundtable with Stella’s team during Paris Fashion Week – interacting with influential figures such as Amber Valletta and Jonathan Safran Foer. Subsequently, Stella sponsored her to sail across the Atlantic Ocean with an initiative called Sail To The COP. This then lead to Unite For Climate Action – a project Tori worked on with LAC youth climate experts to share their stories and experiences with German government officials in 2020.
Tori is an intersectional consultant for companies and global brands who are seeking expert advice from a voice of authority on topics spanning across climate activism, environmentalism, mental health and inclusivity across all marginalized communities. Tori launched an initiative called Bad Activist Collective, in which she started with her two friends, discussing how to navigate the pressures of perfect activism in an imperfect world. As well as this, Tori is writing a book titled “It's Not Just You” - a theoretical, emotional and practical space for unpacking the nuances of what we have come to know as eco-anxiety and climate grief, all within the context of a climate justice framework. www.toritsui.com IG @toritsui_
About Reimagine and the Climate Grief & Growth Series
Reimagine's mission is to help all people face adversity, loss, and mortality, and channel the hard parts of life into meaningful action and growth. www.letsreimagine.org
This event is part of Reimagine’s three-part series “Climate Grief & Growth” in March 2023. Planet earth is in hospice and its inhabitants need grief support. Climate change is relentlessly producing more disaster, death, grief, and anxiety. We are actively destroying the environment, both with intent and negligence. Governments and corporations have ignored warnings from scientists, spiritual leaders, and activists. But despite it all, there’s comfort in our collective struggle. In this series, we will learn ways to grow in the face of climate grief by learning, practicing mindfulness, and taking action. Topics for discussion and practice will include regulating feelings of despair and finding purpose in acts of service and civic engagement.
About Good Grief Network
Good Grief Network is a nonprofit organization that started in 2016. We bring people together to process collective grief, eco-distress, and overwhelming feelings concerning the collective planetary crises. By building individual and community resilience, we empower people to rediscover their agency and engage in meaningful actions.
Using a variety of modalities such as embodiment, group sharing, deep listening, and co-visioning, Good Grief Network creates brave, emergent spaces where people process their heavy emotions, learn new skills, reconnect on all levels, and actively build communities that are invested in intentional relationships, healing, and growth.