Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 4 (regular shift)

Weather: Very windy, rainy in spurts

Number of people: 7 stoppers, 1 walk-by, 1 bike-by

Number of people with whom I didn’t take detailed notes because I was holding onto the umbrella: 3

Number of hecklers: 0!

Pages of notes: 3

Number of people who recognized and commented on the Peanuts reference: 1

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $2.45



I can’t counsel and cover with the umbrella at the same time, but I can keep everything pretty covered if I lash the umbrella to the fence and kind of lean it over the booth, unless the rain is blowing completely sideways, which it was.

The paint I used for the lettering is not at all waterproof. 


Some conversations: 

I’ve seen a TED talk about climate change and it didn’t freak me out at all. But in the past month when I saw President Obama tweet about it, it freaked me out — I ignore it, I haven’t been taking it seriously. I saw the thing about your booth in the Phoenix and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to pay closer attention.

So now that you’re thinking about it, how are you thinking about it?

Two things about me: I’m a Christian and I have a morbid sense of humor. So one part of me, the Christian side, says–because I use the Bible as a life guide–this has happened before on the planet and it’s predicted that it’s going to happen again. It’s not in our control, and by “it” I mean the end, destruction. And then with the morbid sense of humor, comedians like Adam Corolla and Louis CK, comedy has been a big relief–laughing about it, seeing the dark side in all of us … My dad and his friends, they’re not political or intellectual, and they’ll say stuff like, “Don’t move to Miami, it’s gonna be underwater.” They don’t call it climate change, they know it’s real in their subconscious … One thing that stood out from the TED talk, talking about how to not sound melodramatic–so my career is in public and community relations, and so my job is how to take big, melodramatic things and turn them into sound bites. And in this TED talk, he was saying how the ocean is going to release carbon dioxide like a Coke–and there are health-conscious folks who won’t even drink a Coke. So you make it real, you put it in their everyday reality. 


Traditionally the solution to the “tragedy of the commons” is to privatize it, so to have the land be privately owned and the owner protects it, but you can’t privatize the earth. And the other way is to have more structure, more organization. We were studying the problem of care for the elderly, you know, as the baby boomers get older, and we were like, “So since we know this, why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?” and our professor was like, “Basically, people don’t care until it’s too late.” So all the arguments that are like, “What kind of world will your grandchildren live in?”, people don’t care.


I’m not that anxious about the climate.

What are you anxious about?

North Korea. That’s scary to me–making people think you’re a god … But with the climate, that’s gonna be hard to stop, with China. 

[This person and I also talked a bit about “duck and cover” during the Cold War, and it ended up being a good conversation, but too wet to write down.]


Today’s poem: 

I don’t see how anyone can  be anything but harmed. I don’t see how anybody can be anything but silent. I don’t see how anyone can be anything but on the ground. When I hear about these kinds of changes happening already I am stricken. When I turn on my computer in the morning I am stricken. When I come to the late middle of the good part of my life. When no one will all admit it. I can’t see how anyone would all. I can’t become nothing yet. I don’t walk up to anyone. I don’t walk up and down all day. I can make my own blood boil. I can’t say I anymore. Or I am all I can say. Or I am feeling forsaken. Or you should stop destroying everything because it’s making me cry. 







One thought on “Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 4 (regular shift)

  1. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 5/16, 4/7 | climateanxietycounseling

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