Faculty member Jennifer Atkinson gave a talk on “Coping with Climate Anxiety” at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as part of their Winter Seminar Jam series. This talk came on the heels of a feature piece in Coda Story that profiled Atkinson’s teaching on climate and mental health at UWB, which helps students navigate the emotional landscape of climate change.
As Atkinson outlined in her NOAA talk as well as the Coda interview, despair has increased in tandem with our climate crisis. Terms like eco-anxiety and climate grief have become common buzzwords, and a raft of new studies identifies climate disruption as a mental health crisis. Atkinson’s talk outlined the existential toll of environmental destruction on different groups – from scientists and activists to students and BIPOC communities. She also discussed strategies for processing difficult emotions and developing the agency and courage needed to stay engaged in the work ahead.