IAS faculty member Jennifer Atkinson was featured in two recent news stories for her work on Eco-Grief and Climate Anxiety. The Daily's "Dealing with the emotional impact of climate change" profiled her efforts to keep students engaged in challenging curriculum around climate justice, while Edge Effects cited Atkinson's work in an article profiling activism among the Climate Generation (late millennials and Generation Z).
The second piece previews Sarah Jaquette Ray's upcoming book, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety, which aims to help youth involved in climate activism develop the skills for grappling with feelings of powerlessness and despair that may arise in confronting this seemingly intractable situation. As Ray wrote:
The climate generation are not “snowflakes”; they are on the frontlines of their future. They would be worse denialists than we are if they weren’t freaked out. On the contrary, as Jennifer Atkinson has written about her climate-anxious students, they are “badasses” in boot camp preparing for their lives and deaths. They are experiencing feelings of grief, mourning, despair, and fear that comprise what professionals are increasingly calling “solastalgia,” “climate anxiety,” “pre-traumatic stress disorder,” or “ecological anxiety disorder.” Studies are showing that climate scientists and professional conservationists are experiencing these forms of trauma and grief. As climate change becomes felt by more and more people, the boundary between those who worry about a future apocalypse and those who are experiencing that apocalypse right now will blur. The climate generation is the harbinger of this story.
Atkinson and Ray are currently collaborating on a conference and workshop they will facilitate this summer at the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, which brings together scholars, educators and activists to develop an "Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators." Atkinson is also launching a new podcast on Eco-Grief titled "Facing It," and giving a series of public talks on this subject throughout the winter and spring.