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Understanding Climate Grief: Navigating Emotions in a Changing World

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Person holding "There is no planet B" poster. Photo credit: Li-An Lim on Unsplash
Brad Wolfe
Brad Wolfe, Reimagine

February 28, 2023

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Let’s LEARN: What is Climate Grief?

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Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and its impact on our planet is felt by all of us. The destruction of natural habitats, the loss of biodiversity, and the devastating effects of extreme weather events have left many of us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and deeply saddened. This complex set of emotions is what we call climate grief.

What is Climate Grief?

Climate grief is a term used to describe the range of emotions that arise from witnessing the effects of climate change. It can manifest as feelings of sadness, fear, anger, and despair, and can be accompanied by a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. Climate grief is not a diagnosable mental health condition, but it is a very real response to a growing crisis.

The Effects of Climate Grief

Climate grief can have a range of effects on our mental health and wellbeing. It can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and a sense of loss. It can also cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues. The impact of climate grief can be felt in our personal and professional lives, affecting our relationships, work performance, and overall sense of purpose.

Navigating Climate Grief

Climate grief can be difficult to navigate, but it is important to acknowledge and address these emotions. Here are some ways to navigate climate grief:

  • Connect with Others: It is important to connect with others who are also experiencing climate grief. Joining a community of people who are also passionate about climate action can provide a sense of support and belonging.

  • Practice Self-Care: When dealing with climate grief, taking care of your physical and emotional needs is important. Exercise, eat well, and practice mindfulness and meditation to help manage stress and anxiety.

  • Take Action: Engage in activities that promote positive change. Volunteering, donating to environmental causes, and engaging in advocacy can all provide a sense of purpose and empowerment.

Climate grief is a complex set of emotions that can be overwhelming, but it is important to acknowledge and address these feelings. By connecting with others, practicing self-care, and taking action, we can navigate climate grief and work towards a better future for ourselves and our planet.

Reimagine's Monthly Theme for March 2023: Climate Grief & Growth

In Reimagine's three-part series on Climate Grief & Growth, in partnership with the Good Grief Network, we will learn ways to grow in the face of climate grief. Our goal is to help people transform their emotions of grief, despair, and anxiety about climate change into positive action and growth. Through our events, we will explore strategies for regulating feelings of despair and finding purpose in acts of service and civic engagement.

Speakers include:

  • Leslie Davenport: Climate psychology educator, consultant, and therapist exploring the intersectionality of climate, health, education, policy, and social justice.

  • Kyle X. Hill: Licensed psychologist and assistant professor with the University of North Dakota, school of medicine and health sciences, department of Indigenous Health, active in community-based participatory research with American Indian and First Nations communities in the U.S. and Canada, researching social, behavioral and environmental health within Native communities.

  • LaUra Schmidt: Founder of the Good Grief Network, a truth seeker, community builder, cultural critic, trainer, program designer, and facilitator, lifelong student, curator, and practitioner of personal and collective resilience strategies.

  • Tori Tsui: Intersectional climate activist, mental health advocate, intersectional consultant for companies and global brands, founder of Bad Activist Collective, and author of "It's Not Just You," a theoretical, emotional, and practical space for unpacking the nuances of eco-anxiety and climate grief.

  • Kaira Jewel Lingo: Dharma teacher continuing the Engaged Buddhism developed by Thich Nhat Hanh, international teacher in the Zen lineage and the Vipassana tradition, spiritual mentor, and author of "We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons in Moving through Change, Loss and Disruption."

Don't miss our upcoming events and discussions as part of Reimagine's monthly theme for March: Climate Grief & Growth. Join us as we come together to learn and grow in the face of climate change:

Learn more and register for all three events in the series here:

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Let’s LEARN: What is Climate Grief?

March 8, 2023