Climate scientist Peter Kalmus writes about how “to think daily about climate change and any of its dire implications can be a crushing psychological burden. Each of us is just one mammal, with all our mammalian limitations — we get tired, sad, irritated, sick, overwhelmed — and the climate crisis wields the force of 8 billion humans with infrastructure, corporations, capital, politics, and imaginations heavily invested in burning fossil fuel.”
Grief is part of the response. How couldn’t it be? As Kalmus says, “It’s clarifying. It makes sense to me, and inspires me to work harder than ever. Occasionally, however, I feel something quite different, a paralyzing sense of anxiety.” To counter anxiety and harness grief, we also need hope.
Writer Mike Hembury explains in his post today for ClimateCultures: “Our job is to be hope, to embody hope, for future generations.” Grief and hope have both inspired the moving poem he shares there. And he ends with the inspirational speech by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg to fellow activists at the COP24 talks in Poland: “Once we start to act, hope is everywhere, so instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then and only then, hope will come.” Look. Act.