In my last article, I talked about how we need to create space to grieve for environmental losses. No loss is greater than that of the entire planet, and while we’re not likely to have the Earth obliterated by the Death Star any time soon, several times throughout its history it has experienced mass extinctions and devastating climate shifts. Our species has existed for the past couple hundred thousand years in a relatively stable period, save for a few ice ages. But as adaptable as we are, it remains to be seen whether we’d survive the sort of extreme climate shift that preceded something as great as the Permian Extinction, which killed off over half of all species.
No one knows for certain how bad our current anthropogenic climate change will be, and whether we’ll be able to reverse our trajectory in enough time to avoid the worst. But as the only known species that can be aware of our future, we have the burden of knowing in just how many ways something can go very, very wrong. And then we get to thinking about it, and worrying over it, and anxiety sets in, and that will do a number on just about anyone’s mental and emotional health.
In fact, climate change is possibly one of the most urgent and critical topics for ecopsychology to address. Yes, it is good for us to work toward reconnecting people with the rest of nature. But we also need to address our feelings toward nature, to include those less pleasant ones like the worry and fear.
Everyone’s method for doing so is different. But one of the key factors that everyone can draw from is resilience.