‘A friend sat with me and explained that she had just recovered from an episode of extreme climate grief brought about by studying rapidly changing terrestrial ecosystems’
A professor and NASA scientist recently shared her “climate grief” and how she copes with the stress in an article for Nature.
Kimberley Miner, a professor at Virginia Tech and the University of Maine, shared a story of breaking down in tears when she realized a California drought would mean some blue oaks would die.
“A friend sat with me and explained that she had just recovered from an episode of extreme climate grief brought about by studying rapidly changing terrestrial ecosystems,” Miner wrote. “She had started taking weekends off (many of us work seven days a week) and encouraged me to do so, as well.”
“After we talked, I walked around the parking area for a while, listening to the birds and watching the midday light filter through the diverse trees in downtown Santa Barbara,” she wrote. “I breathed the ocean air and grounded myself in the present, where the air was cool and the birds were singing.”
Miner is not the only one who suffers from this. Within her circle, five other climate scientists have “severe, emergent health challenges.”
Nobel Prize winner Dave Schimel helped Miner learn how to cope. “The best treatment for climate grief, he says, is knowing you’ve made a contribution to reducing emissions or building resilience.”
Miner shared how she writes to Congress, protects migrating birds and spends time outside to overcome her grief.
California rain storms produced bright flowers that helped the climate scholar.
“For just this one year, the blossoming hills gave me a breath of relief amid the ongoing struggle, and I rededicated myself to continuing to fight for everything we can still save.”
IMAGE: Goldie Blox/YouTube