Jennifer Atkinson speaks on eco-anxiety


IAS faculty member Jennifer Atkinson spoke on the topic of eco-anxiety at an event sponsored by the City of Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture. Presenting alongside Clayton Aldern, a data scientist and writer for the environmental magazine Grist, Atkinson traced connections between climate change, environmental degradation, and mental health. 

As event organizers noted: "For some of us, the scale of climate change can be almost too much to grasp. What does it mean to lose the world as we know it? How are we—as individuals—supposed to make a difference when the problem requires global action? Whom and what are we even allowed to grieve? In reflecting on the future, it's easy to feel stuck, anxious, or powerless. A weary world is wearing on us, and as climate change forces the seas and ice and heat index to their extremes, the extremities reach back. We have words for these conditions: climate grief, eco-anxiety, environmental melancholia, pre-traumatic stress disorder—a whole new lexicon to describe the psychological and emotional troubles of relating to a rapidly degrading environment."

Atkinson and Aldern shared research on how to better conceptualize the climate crisis, seek solidarity, foster resilience, and identify viable solutions for moving the conversation forward. Participants were given facilitated time for written reflection, and also learned from each other as they discussed these intersections and shared their own experiences with eco-anxiety and climate grief. 

This workshop was co-sponsored by the City of Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture and Grist.