I have been an activist for over a decade, and have been working on climate change for just under a year now. And I have to say, climate change work is much more emotionally difficult that any other activism I’ve engaged in.
For a while now – perhaps back in May of last year – I’ve wanted to have a kind of emotional support group. Finally, after much thinking and some planning, I organized the first meeting of what I’m calling a “climate change support circle” this past Monday.
The most basic tenet of the support circle is confidentiality. In discussion before we started, we agreed that we would not even anonymize anything we heard – our circle is so small that even if I just wrote here about what someone said without giving too much detail, several someones outside the circle could probably make an educated guess about the speaker’s identity. So I will write only about the overall process, and not much about what we said.
Why is this support circle necessary? Because when you work on climate change, you think about climate change. And you will know, and be constantly reminded, that we are fucked. In some ways it’s harder than dealing with the death of someone you love, or even your own mortality – we are looking at the possibility of horrible death for billions of people. And even the possibility of the extinction of the human species within a century or two. People tell me stories of going to the park and then breaking down in tears when they see small children playing, because they know that those children will suffer terribly, and that their lives will be much worse than their parents’ or grandparents’.