Jennifer Atkinson presents "Navigating Climate Anxiety"


IAS faculty member Jennifer Atkinson spoke at Whitman College on November 18 for a public event exploring climate anxiety, eco-grief, and how to cope with the mental health impacts of our ecological crisis. The talk was attended by student activists and mental health professionals. 

Atkinson explained not only climate change's external impacts, but also the emotional toll it's having on young people, climate justice activists, scientists, and frontline communities. Her presentation focused on the inherent intersections between climate change and social justice, and concluded with tips for navigating feelings of hopelessness and grief in the face of climate breakdown. In particular, Atkinson highlighted the importance of the humanities when it comes to facing climate anxiety, delving into the role of creative writing, storytelling, and ritual. 

Earlier in the month Atkinson’s work was also featured in the Student Guide to the Climate Crisis: A Handbook for Climate Grief, Science and Action published by the University of Manchester in collaboration with Climate Emergency Manchester. This UK-based initiative consulted with Atkinson in developing many of its recommendations, which are now available in sections of the publication including Climate Anxiety – what it is, what to do. Interview with Dr Jennifer Atkinson.

Atkinson will be expanding her work on climate anxiety in 2021 with the development of a new book, tentatively titled An Existential Toolkit for Climate Educators, a speaking series, and a new season of her podcast Facing It, which explores the emotional dimensions of environmental loss and our global biodiversity crisis. 

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