The Stream

Is ‘climate grief’ a path towards healing the world?

Healthcare professionals face new challenge to tackle anxiety spurred by impact of climate change events and their reporting.

The global climate emergency is fast unfolding and each day brings a fresh round of headlines highlighting the impact that extreme weather events are having on communities and nature around the world. It’s fueling a deep and pervasive sense of hopelessness and powerlessness among people, in what mental health professionals variously call “climate anxiety” or “climate grief”.

Those directly affected by extreme weather tied to climate change are struggling to cope as their way of is irrevocably altered. Communities affected by events such as major storms, rising sea levels, wildfires and Arctic ice melt often report increased incidences of depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, substance abuse, and interpersonal violence. But with negative impacts tied to climate change unfolding at an alarming rate that is beyond the predictions of scientists, even those so far relatively untouched by climate change are troubled by a sense of unease and doom about the state of the world and what it means for the future of humankind.

Mental health experts are now engaged in developing strategies to help people cope with an emergency that is playing out in real time and with frightening speed. In the first of a week of special shows tied to #CoveringClimateNow we’ll look at climate anxiety and how it can be overcome – and even harnessed – to positive and life-affirming effect. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with: 

Ashlee Cunsolo, @ashleecunsolo
Director, Labrador Institute of Memorial University

Joseph Zane Sikulu, @350Pacific
Pacific Organiser,

Christiana Figueres, @CFigueres
Founder, Global Optimism

Read more:
I have felt hopelessness over climate change. Here is how we move past the immense grief – The Guardian
‘Climate Despair’ Is Making People Give Up on Life – Vice

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