Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 2

Weather: sunny, slight breeze, delightful; wind picked up later

Number of people:

Number of hecklers: 0!

Number of close-talkers: 1

Pages of notes: 10

Conversations between people previously unknown to one another: 1

Number of people who asked (and received) permission to take a picture: 4

Number of people who recognized and mentioned the Peanuts reference: 3

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $0.98. Some days you get the bear, some days the bear doesn’t have any change.

Observations:

The people I think will stop don’t always stop. On the other hand, the people I’m sure won’t stop do not, in fact, stop.

A male pigeon following another pigeon intently and puffing himself out emphatically stopped to pick at a crumb for a second, then went back to the pursuit. The other pigeon remained unimpressed.

I had a very long conversation that I didn’t transcribe, but that I’ll probably address in a separate post.

Man to duck: You’re gonna fill up on bread and die. It’s not a good thing.

 

Some conversations:

 

Climate change is worrisome. Overall, that people don’t take things like that seriously, they don’t think it’s gonna happen in their lifetime … What are you gonna do if someone says Oh, climate change, I don’t believe in that, and you get defensive?

I actually already decided about that–I’m just gonna ask, What’s worrying you the most, then, if it’s not that?

And if they say, Well, you shouldn’t be worried about it?

I guess I’ll just say that we’re not going to agree.**

 I think it’s a good thing–bringing awareness right here to our faces.

 

**Upon reflection, I don’t think this would be a good response. 

*

Do you do anxiety for people or just climate? I did a lot of bad things and now I’m trying to do everything right.

*

I’ve been having these conversations with a lot of people about evil–basically like Satan. Partly it could be because of the harsh winter, but I’ve been hearing it from people in other places–people coming to the realization that there’s some really bad stuff in the world. People feeling like it can’t happen to them because they’re so positive and good. Specifically this one friend who feels like her soul was ripped out of her–she thinks it was Satan who did that to her, through this person, and she blames herself for not trusting her instincts and letting him lead her down the wrong path.

What do you say when she says these things, or do you mostly listen?

I mostly listen. But when she says ridiculous things like she regrets everything in her life, I say that’s ridiculous. I tell her this is temporary, she’s not gonna always feel this way. She is a person, and she does exist. … . I said, once you’re done hibernating, once you’re done sitting on your mom’s couch and staring at the wall, come here, we’ll find you a place. Don’t deny how you feel. . If you’re sad, you should just let yourself be sad as long as you need. But when has it been long enough? 

*

I think it’s been a long time coming, and I blame mankind pretty much for a lot of it. All these wires under the ground and cell phones. But part of it is a natural progression of life and evolution. 

What do you think people will need to do to live in the changed world?

I don’t think people should rebuild. I grew up on the beach in Southern New Jersey, and we built dunes, but the fight to keep building is too much money, too much resources. I think coastal adaptation is important. I think the president said something too late. I don’t think anybody knows what to do. The other thing is the intense heat and storms that are coming … we need to chill out, especially with technology.

*

[This person also came by yesterday.]

How’s it going today? Any good responses? [sees skunk organism card] Oh, I love skunks! 

Me too! If you love them, you should take it. 

I will. I was thinking I’d like to send one of these to my cousin, she’s housebound with a chronic illness in Florida. I’ll send her the fish, and I’ll keep the skunk.

*

My anxiety is too big to fit on the map. Homelessness. I’m trying to get my tooth pulled. I been clean for three years, I wanted to relapse last night, the pain was so bad.

 

Today’s poem:

Stasis is data

when no one said

I don’t want to believe

it believe me I’d

rather have ecology

believe in me long

enough to be

long after me

a matter not of feeling

to keep coming back

to each spring

like a site

 

 

 

 

 

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