This week we went rogue, sort of, to talk about the term we use at the beginning of every episode: climate anxiety. We’ve been hearing the term a lot lately, particularly in the social media response to Sarah Jaquette Ray’s recent article for Scientific American, ‘Climate Anxiety Is an Overwhelmingly White Phenomenon.’ In this episode we finally define climate anxiety, break down the article and responses to it, and discuss the white-centering conversations around climate emotions. We also talk about coping with anxiety, turning it into action, and–if you come from privilege–how not to crawl back into the comfort of your shell. (Surprise, your shell is made of structural oppression!) Asides include processing fear through true crime, building a community, and being sad about our favorite music venue being made into a hotel.
This episode was prompted by the article ‘Climate Anxiety Is an Overwhelmingly White Phenomenon’ by Sarah Jaquette Ray for Scientific American, and by the conversation the piece sparked on social media.
Climate anxiety was defined in 2017 as “chronic fear of environmental doom” by the American Psychological Association. But, of course, it goes much deeper than that. We touch on a lot of subjects in this episode, but a big one is that we should not be your only source of climate information!
Sources & Further Reading
Climate Anxiety Is an Overwhelmingly White Phenomenon by Sarah Jaquette Ray in Scientific American
Psychologists Explain our Climate Change Anxiety by Kyle Mandel for Resilience.org
Psychological impact of climate change on Wikipedia
People of Color Experience Climate Grief More Deeply Than White People by Nylah Burton May 2020 for VICE
Got Climate Anxiety? These People Are Doing Something About It, February 2021, New York Times
Sarah Jaquette Ray on “A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet,” Youtube video, University Of California Press interview with Sarah Jaquette Ray from April 2020
Climate Anxiety and Mental Illness by Brian Barnett for Scientific American
The harm from worrying about climate change by Christine Ro for BBC
Solastalgia: the distress caused by environmental change, Albrecht et al, National Library of Medicine
Climate anxiety is real, but there’s something you can do about it by Jen Christensen, CNN
“The white response to climate change is literally suffocating to people of color. Climate anxiety can operate like white fragility, sucking up all the oxygen in the room and devoting resources toward appeasing the dominant group. As climate refugees are framed as a climate security threat, will the climate-anxious recognize their role in displacing people from around the globe? Will they be able to see their own fates tied to the fates of the dispossessed? Or will they hoard resources, limit the rights of the most affected and seek to save only their own, deluded that this xenophobic strategy will save them? How can we make sure that climate anxiety is harnessed for climate justice?”Sarah Jaquette Ray, Climate Anxiety Is An Overwhelmingly White Phenomenon
Let’s get JonBenét-Ramsey-murderer-discovery energy for Dupont polluting water in Cancer Alley.
Horror can be a coping mechanism for anxiety! Our watchlist this week is all horror movies and thrillers that take the environment or climate change into account. And as American Hysteria points out, how many haunted houses were built on top of Indigenous burial grounds? Pretty much every single one, it seems.
His House on Netflix
Snowpiercer – one of Elise’s favorite movies.
The Day After Tomorrow
2012 (Elise says: I remember thinking this movie was so dumb at the time, but after our fracking episode and learning how many earthquakes improper practices have caused, it seems way scarier.)
We’ll be expanding our climate thriller list on social media, so DM us if you have any suggestions.
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Thanks for listening!