Because nonviolent direct action can be an act of deep love.
Because the global climate conference, COP26, ends in 3 days.
Because so far all our “leaders” have done is make loophole-laden promises that aren’t legally binding, and vague references to technologies that don’t yet exist.
Because the best parts of COP26 have been the glorious acts of rebellion in the streets.
“Our identities as Indigenous peoples are inextricably tied to the lands, waters, and ecosystems we come from. As the climate crisis continues to worsen, our communities are experiencing increasingly dramatic changes that disrupt our life ways and our rights, despite the fact we are least responsible for it,” stated ICA Executive Director Eriel Tchekwie Deranger.
Update: Video now available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPmvtuYCBAY
Join us on Friday, August 13th from Noon – 1:00 pm for the next “Libraries in the Global Arena: Responding to the Climate Crisis” session as Rachel Malena-Chan presents about the concept of eco-anxiety and a framework for channeling uncomfortable climate emotions into meaningful action.
Being a mother comes with its own unique worries and fears too. The love I have for my daughter is a fierce, protective love that feels instinctive and primal. My happiness and well-being is deeply intertwined with her happiness and well-being. When she cries, I feel it deep in my soul. I worry that we have created a world that will hold much suffering for her and all other children as they grow. Constant fires, deadly heat and storms, droughts, food scarcity, and the conflict and violence that often accompanies instability.
But, to be the mother she deserves, I have to fight those fears and dedicate myself to creating a healthier, sustainable, more just world.
One thing I found interesting about the findings of my research was the overlap between encounters leading to mental health impacts of climate change and sources of resilience. Bearing witness to deterioration of places of personal importance was the most frequently cited encounter that lead to mental health impacts while at the same time, spending time in nature was the most common source of resilience. Similarly, consideration of future generations lead participants to experience eco-anxiety, grief and guilt while also bringing feelings of hope for change, action and a better future. The complex web of feelings wrapped up in the experience of eco-anxiety is not easily untangled.
What frameworks are useful for making sense of eco-anxiety? Stories are all about grounding information in context. We experience eco-anxiety individually and collectively, but everyone comes from a different context. Learning more about the broader context - the bigger story - can help you identify other characters in the story who may be experiencing these feelings in a different way. We may be used to starting the story with "Who am I in this story?" but it's more important to ask "When am I in this story?"
No matter what change you’re able to bring about, it’s going to help someone, and it’s going to help the most vulnerable people.
The system change we need will not be easy, and it won’t come quickly. It will take all of us, with all the skills and abilities and ideas we each have, for a very long time. And we are not going to get there if we all burn out along with the world as we know it. We are barely at the starting line now. It will at times be frustrating, uncomfortable, and challenging.
And so we need to do the things that humans have always done to find meaning and feel community. We need to make, share, and consume art. We need the artists, both among us and within us, now more than ever.
There have been generations of organizing and people feeling this pain so maybe the climate crisis just got attention right now, but certainly in the Global South, they’ve been feeling this for years and years.
Are you feeling this change, this urgency, like the trill of cicadas at night, like the roll of distant thunder across the hairs on your arms? Are you feeling the way this world is buzzing, thrilling, electric and on the cusp?
Rachel Malena-Chan, co-founder of Eco-Anxious Stories, sat down this past summer with Justin Fisher from Climate Jutice Saskatoon to talk about her research and why she started the Eco-Anxious Stories project.
Coming hard on the heels of this, COVID19, with its roots in habitat loss and exploitation of animals, adds yet another dimension to my grief in response to the tragedies of human-driven ecological disruptions.
Stay tuned for information about our next webinar! Sign up for updates on the homepage.
The things that we do have control over in our life include the way that we take care of ourselves, the way that we take care of other people in our lives, and the way that we take care of the world. Zines are a very accessible form of creativity because you're working with other people's images and other people's words.
The world we need to create—our adaptation to the level of change that’s already starting and our path to zero emissions—isn’t outside us. It’s within us, in the fall of our feet on the earth and the way we greet one another as dusk falls.
Kaitlin, like many of us in these uncertain times, was grappling at how she could be of service to humanity. This story of a simple and sweet gesture is an example that we do have capacity to start a revolution and stand together.
I’m older now.
The grass begs for rain.
The sun, my old companion, frightens me. Beckoning fire and smoke.
There are days, weeks maybe, when I don’t hear the birds singing.
I never thought I’d say this, but today I feel fortunate to have spent many years developing a set of tools to handle my anxiety. So while the pandemic is now at the top of the list of things that cause me anxiety, I am able to meet it head on and navigate my feelings.
This doesn’t mean that I cruise through the day with a smile on my face. It means that I can quickly recognize when anxiety is creeping and take action before it escalates. For those experiencing these new emotions and physiological responses for the first time, I empathize and want to help. Here are my go-to techniques that have been in heavy use these past weeks.
Let me out.
Let me find the path outward
beyond myself and all the shiny objects
I once thought were treasures.
Let me out.
Out of the collected,
the calamity, the chaotic
What is one thing you can do in this hour, day, or week that will give you a sense of delight + wonder? This exercise will help you find it.
Can you relate? “As I began waking up to the urgency of preventing runaway global warming, some of the toughest moments to get through were those when I’d look around and not be able to see with my own eyes any proof that we are in a species-wide existential crisis.” If you’ve ever felt alone in your eco-anxiety, read on, friend!
Kevin had never experienced anxiety of any form before having kids. In this story he recalls a journey from the depths of his eco-anxiety to hyper-awareness and eventually to a platform called Eco-Anxious Stories.
Today felt dark in almost every way: being January, the days are short, the clouds are thick and the rain is heavy.
This five minute episode features Eric Holthaus, a writer, reporter, and father of two kids who is passionate about reshaping climate stories. In this short video, Eric tells us about how the climate conversation has shifted over the past five years to focus more on the emotional barriers to action. Eric explains how he makes sense of his personal call to action to shift perspectives, amplify others’ voices, and build from a foundation of love.
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Eco-Anxious Stories is a labour of love. It’s a project, it’s a website, it’s a channel, it’s a platform, and it’s a community. We’re not trying to be everything to everyone, but we are aiming to take a broad approach to a specific question: How can we support each other to transform our eco-anxieties into meaningful action?
Kristine submitted this story after overcoming extreme anxiety at a birthday party. This experience left her wanting to model change and is a great example for all the parents out there struggling with their own party plans.
Hello! Welcome to Eco-Anxious Stories. As co-founders of the site, we wanted to say hi and introduce ourselves. Check out these videos for background on who we are, why we started this project, and what to expect from the site.
This five minute episode features Beth Sawin, a biologist and systems-thinker who crafts the best Twitter threads. Beth is a co-director of Climate Interactive, a think tank that models climate simulations to help people see a more interconnected picture of our ecosocial relationships. This interview was cut from Beth’s contribution to an upcoming Eco-Anxious Stories podcast looking at eco-anxiety through the lens of the enneagram (www.enneagraminstitute.com (https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/)), where she discusses the pressure that many of us feel to “fix” the climate crisis. Have a listen (and see if you can guess Beth’s enneagram type)!
Meghan and Joni were feeling overwhelmed, afraid, and angry about the state of the world, and they decided to come together to reflect on what they could control: how we take care of ourselves, each other, and the earth - even when it feels like the end of the world.
Feeling eco-anxious? Here are some quick tips. Take a deep breath. Smile. Reach out to others. Remember: you’re not alone, you’re not powerless, you can start wherever you are.
I can empathize with the feeling that this crisis is so complex and enormous that it is overwhelming to know where to even start. But the answer is annoyingly simple: at the beginning.
Find a comfortable place to sit or lie, close your eyes, and let Mary's voice help you navigate to a more peaceful place.
I know I'm not alone in finding peace in the works of Mary Oliver.
This beautiful piece, from the pages of her classic collection, Devotions, resonates deeply and I hope it compels you to go out into the morning and sing.
This infographic models tips for individual and groups, crafted with inspiration from Leslie Davenport, Renee Lertzman, Dan Rubin, Climate Interactive, Mary Anaise Heglar and more.
This love note is a simple road map for when you are stuck. When anxiety has you by the throat and you don’t know what to do. In conversations with my clients, sorting out what drains one’s energy and what fuels one’s soul is the first step to moving beyond stuck.
Let's shrug off silence and channel anxiety into meaningful stories together.