Dr. Atkinson designed a seminar on eco-grief and climate anxiety, hoping to calm her feelings and those of her students.
According to Dr. Van Susteren can manifest itself in a number of ways, from fear of the future to extreme guilt for individual purchases and behavior. Although symptoms sometimes match those of clinical anxiety, she said that she views eco-distress as a reasonable response to scientific facts – one that should be addressed in mild cases but not pathologized. (In cases of extreme anxiety, Dr. Van Susteren said it was important to seek professional help.)
For many Americans, advice on climate protection is relatively accessible. However, in some communities, especially in less affluent countries, this seems to be a rather rare privilege.
Kritee, a senior climate researcher at the Environmental Defense Fund, has feet in both worlds. Dr. Kritee (she has a single name) based in Boulder, Colorado, leads workshops and retreats for people suffering from climate problems. She also works with farmers in India whose livelihoods are directly threatened by the extreme droughts and floods that come with climate change.
Dr. Kritee, who has a PhD in biochemistry and microbiology, believed that people from different backgrounds should process their feelings about climate change. She makes her services affordable through scholarships, scaled payments, and donation-based courses. Some of their sessions are only open to black people, who are often on the forefront of climate change and whose ecological grief is often compounded by racial trauma.
Regarding the whites and the wealthy who are most likely not to feel the worst effects of climate change, Dr. Criticism that it is crucial that they also face their grief. In doing so, they might start thinking about questions like, “If I am hurt so much, what happens to people who are less privileged?”