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Climate Stew Blog

Dealing Directly with Climate Grief

A university professor reached out to me and asked me what resources I have for people who are concerned about climate change and who are beginning to feel distress and grief about it. We can get easily overwhelmed in taking on climate change and with the good work we are doing. In order for our work to remain sustainable so we do not lose our minds, we need to consider our mental health and wellness.

Through Citizens Climate Radio I take on this issue in a number of ways with some pretty amazing guests. Below are some episodes that address climate grief and despair. They provide helpful steps for how you can take care of yourself.

Ep 39 Envisioning and Communicating Climate Success features communication experts from NNOCCI—National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. They are zoo and aquarium educators talking about climate change and base their techniques on research. In the episode they speak directly about climate grief and PTSD and how we can look after ourselves. The entire episode serves as encouragement and inspiration for anyone doing climate work.

Ep 23 Mental Health and Wellness features psychiatrist and expert on climate psychology, Dr. Lise Van Susteren. Also, public health expert Dr. Natasha DeJarnett joins her. It is a very honest and helpful discussion about how climate change emotionally and psychologically affects the public and climate advocates.
She might also appreciate my conversation with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe. We talked about the hope-despair binary and how she addresses climate dread.Ep 31 Dr. Katharine Hayhoe
Another great resource is The Good Grief Network , which “builds personal resilience while strengthening community ties to help combat despair, inaction, eco-anxiety, and other heavy emotions in the face of daunting systemic predicaments. The state of the world seems unmanageable, chaotic even.” They have articles, a podcast, and 10-Steps climate advocates can walk through.

What resources do you know about and want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Over on Facebook Sherri Michalovic shared this article that appeared in the Guardian. Don’t Despair: the climate fight is only over if you think it is by Rebecca Solnit.

The histories of change that have made me hopeful are often about small groups that seem at the outset unrealistic in their ambition. Whether they were taking on slavery in antebellum USA or human rights in the Soviet bloc, these movements grew exponentially and changed consciousness and then toppled institutions or regimes. We also don’t know what technological breakthroughs, large-scale social changes, or catastrophic ecological feedback loops will shape the next 20 years. Knowing that we don’t know isn’t grounds for confidence, but it is fuel against despair, which is a form of certainty. This future is as uncertain as it’s ever been.

Featured Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

Discover what it takes to be an incredibly effective climate communicator

Blair Bazarich in SF Zoo Mobile

Peterson Toscano has had so many amazing guests on his podcast. In the latest episode of Citizens Climate Radio, he speaks with skilled communicators who reveal proven techniques that they use in zoos, aquariums, and beyond.

Climate Communication experts Blair Bazdarich from the San Francisco Zoo and Hannah Pickard at Boston’s New England Aquarium share proven insider tips about effective communication strategies. They are both leaders at NNOCCI, the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. They train aquarium and zoo professionals how to speak about climate change. NNOCCI is a network of individuals and organizations in informal education, the social sciences, and climate sciences.They are currently working in 170 institutions in 38 states. NNOCCI members reach over 190 million people each year.
In this episode Hannah and Blair share the techniques they have been using, including a “values-first” approach. Through NNOCCI’s research, they identified two motivating values that prove highly effective in opening up conversations with members of the public. The first value is Protection—we feel a strong need to protect the people and places we love. And the second is Responsible Management. We value solving problems earlier before they become too big.
Sean Dague, leader for the Mid-Hudson South chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, leads us through a powerful exercise. He asks us, What does a decarbonized world look like? What does it smell like? What does it sound like?

Once you hear Sean’s vision of a successful future, we invite you to continue the exercise. Try some creative writing. Write a short story or a letter from the future about what you see, smell, and hear.  Maybe create visual art, a drawing or painting. If you can’t draw or paint, get images from magazines and on-line then create a collage. Write a song, create a map, choreograph a dance. Use art to capture a vision of a decarbonized world. Even if you do not see yourself as an artsy person, just try it.

Featured Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Professional Sports and Hot Climate Action

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

It is amazing to hear about the variety of people and niches of people that are seriously taking on climate change, talking about it, and pursuing solutions. Last month Peterson Toscano interviewed professional baseball player, Brent Suter. In the latest episode of Citizens Climate Radio he chats with Lew Blaustein of Green Sports Blog.

Lew outlines a growing movement among professional athletes, teams, and leagues to not only green the sporting world but to speak out about climate change.

Lew puts the challenges we face into perspective. He says, “Mike Trout of the Anaheim Angels—best player in baseball—recently signed a 400 plus million dollar twelve year contract extension. Twelve years is also what the IPCC said is the time frame that humanity has to reduce our carbon footprint by 45%—basically Mike Trout’s contract.” Lew believes sports fans can become instrumental in taking on climate change. “We need to get the masses of people who follow sports…to engage on positive climate action.”

liz gonzalez with Chaco!

He believes professional sports is an essential arena to make this happen. “We’re athletes. We know how to solve problems and overcome obstacles.”

In the Art House meet poet, liz gonzalez, writing about a rapidly changing semi-natural world in Southern California. She reads poetry and prose about the Santa Ana winds.

All this plus the monthly puzzler–What color or sound do you associate with climate change?

Check out Ep 38 of Citizens Climate Radio

Featured photo credit: Keith Johnston on Unsplash

MLB Pitcher Brent Suter and Circus Artist Eliana Dunlap on Creative Climate Action

My favorite part of podcasting is that I get to meet cool people doing things well outside of my normal experience. That is very true with the latest episode of Citizens Climate Radio. Brent Suter is a professional baseball player, a pitcher with the Milwaukee Brewers. Eliana Dunlap is a circus artist who specializes in the German Wheel, (which I had never heard of before.)

Brent Suter

Brent Suter received a scholarship to play baseball at Harvard University, where he studied environmental science. He learned about the effects of climate change and what how we need to drastically reduce our pollution. At first that meant making individual lifestyle choices to lower his own personal carbon footprint, but he has been expanding his efforts. Through his Strike Out Waste initiative, he got professional baseball players to use reusable water bottles during spring training.

In a recent interview for the Green Sport Blog he said, “At this point in time, a carbon pricing program and higher incentives for clean energy are absolutely imperative towards the goal of stabilizing our climate and ensuring a healthy and viable future for our planet. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act would not only help achieve these goals, but would give the funds raised back to the people, save countless lives, and create millions of jobs! A Green Revolution needs to happen fast, and this law, if passed, would play a vital role in helping solve the most important problem of our lives.”

The Art House

Eliana Dunlap

Eliana Dunlap was not born into a circus family; instead she learned circus arts at a circus school in Quebec. Her circus skill set is impressive and includes acrobatics, juggling, dance, and her speciality, the German Wheel. She has been performing circus arts in non-traditional spaces. She is also someone who is creatively responding to climate change. Through her podcast, Changing the World and Other Circus Related Things, she is connecting with other concerned circus artists. She is also one of the founding members of the Circus Action Network.

Eliana likens the high stakes world of circus arts to the challenges we face with climate change. She also sees examples from the circus world about how we can get people from various backgrounds to work together. This summer she and a friend will do street performances of a new circus art show called, High Stakes–What’s the Plan(t)? In addition to lots of juggling and acrobatics, the show features a live plant as part of the action.

In this fascinating interview, Eliana opens up about the world of circus and how she and other concerned artists are creating avenues for a deeper conversation about climate change.

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on Apple Podcasts, please consider rating and reviewing us!

Sexy Sex in a Time of Climate Change

Last month Peterson Toscano launched a new podcast, Bubble&Squeak. (You can hear it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, PodBean, and Google Play.) The show is weird and wonderful, a delightful mix of storytelling, comedy, radio drama, and commentary.

Each episode is short, only 15 minutes, and in addition to hearing from Peterson (as himself and playing multiple characters) he has also featured writer Elizabeth Rush and actor Danny Glover.

In his most recent episode, Sexy Sex, he includes a short radio play, a prank call to the future. Peterson dials into a sex advice call-in line with the dilemma, “My boyfriend and I are not having enough sex.” No this is not because of internalized homophobia, rather they are temporary residents in an emergency shelter after a storm. Dr. Judith Housemeyer is adamant about finding a solution to the problem.

You can read the script below or better yet hear it in all its glory.

A prank call to the future: Dr. Judith Housemeyer Sexy Sex in a Time of Climate Change.
by Peterson Toscano for Bubble&Squeak

Dr. Judith: This is Dr. Judith Housemeyer. Yes, caller, this is Sexy Sex in a time of climate change. What is the problem here? Don’t be shy!

Peterson Toscano : Yes, Dr. Judith, I’m calling because, well, my boyfriend and I are just not having enough sex.

DJ. Oooo, the problem with the butt sex. We have heard of this. What exactly is wrong with this? Is he resistant? Are you uncomfortable with it? What is this? It is very normal!

PT No, no, no we love it. We love it,  It’s just that are in an emergency shelter right now because of a storm and there is no privacy

DJ:  I have heard, this is becoming a growing problem, yes for everyone, for the straights, for the bis, for the pans, everyone is having this problem.  Right, ok, well, have you been been able to perhaps try something, like go outside at night time.

PT Well, that’s hard because once it gets dark they lock the doors and that’s that. We can’t go in and out

DJ:  Yes, I have heard this. For security reasons. I understand. What about in the toilets? They have toilets there, ya, stalls? You could do a quickie there in the stall. Its not the first time, ya?

Photo by Honey Fangs on Unsplash

PT Well, yeah, but their disgusting. Oh my gosh they are so overcrowded and overflowing and its just…

DJ Oh, it’s a whole lot of backup of waste. I understand, ya ya, no no. Are there any other places that are private there?

PT Yes, there is one other place. There is attached to this is a pet, an emergency pet shelter

DJ Oh that is good, but there must be lots of people as well there taking care of the pets

PT Actually no, they’re really low on volunteers right now; they could use some help, so it’s pretty quiet

DJ Well if you don’t mind the animals watching, which is very normal for them just don’t get them involved, this is not Berlin in the 1930s hahahaha

Photo by Justin Chrn on Unsplash

PT No of course not, we could do that oh except my boyfriend he has some pet allergies.

DJ: mmmm, this does not have to be a bad problem, this could be fun, ya, ya,you get surgical masks, you could play doctor, uh, you could get the skimask, you can play muggings, this could be fun. Have fun with it! In this time of climate change we have to become creative and adapt, adapt to it and have fun.   Ok? thank you caller

This is Dr. Judith Housemeyer, with more Sexy Sex in a Time of Climate Change coming up. Call me with all your problems; I want to know I want to know.

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(Featured photo by Elvin Ruiz on Unsplash)