Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 7

Weather: warm and windy, shading to chilly later

Number of people: 19 stoppers, 5 walk-bys

Number of hecklers: 0!

Number of climate change deniers: 1.5

Pages of notes: 10

People who recognized and commented on the Peanuts reference: 4

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $1.97 + one UAE dirham coin with 3 oil derricks on the back of it.

 

Observations:

All the climate change deniers so far have had three major demographic qualities in common. 

Many people say they wish they could do something, they don’t know what to do. Many other people’s “doing” is along the lines of good manners or good vibes. Sometimes there’s some overlap. 

Some conversations:

That’s the $64,000 question. Nobody can say what it’s gonna do. 

*

We’re gonna be on lakefront property right here … I’m just glad I have darker skin, there’s gonna be a lot of cancer. You kill all the plants, you don’t have any medicines. There’s no bees left, we’re killing ’em all. A lot of people here don’t care. Too many harder things to worry about. 90% of the population is unemployed, homeless. Keep ’em hungry, keep ’em confused, don’t educate people.

*

I’m actually really worried. We had the coldest winter, and I’m worried that’s going to mean the hottest summer.

What will you do?

Go to the beach a lot, but I burn, so maybe just stay inside. And of course next year is gonna be even worse. And I worry about what’s going on in the rest of the world, not just the climate, but those Nigerian girls that were kidnapped, they’re not getting the attention that they should have, that we’d seen if a bunch of young white women were kidnapped. Feminism is about equality for everyone.

So believing as you do in equality for everyone, how do you help people try to reach that? How can people help each other?

Just what you said, help everybody out — when you see someone in need, give them something. I’ll put change in a parking meter if I see it’s about to expire. 

*

[These three were friends.]

Friend 1: We’re about to leave on a cross-country trip, so that’s exciting. We’re gonna take the Megabus to NY, then hitchhike or couchsurf or WWOOF down to Florida, and then try to make it over to Cali. We wanna feel a little bit more purpose, more spiritually orientated–well, I feel like we all have different reasons for going.

Friend 2: I want to float on the universe for a little while.

Friend 3: I wanna be a philanthropist. If anybody needs help with anything, help them out. Even little things, like, “Can I carry that?

*

Rhode Island IS my home. I choose to be here, I like it. 

*

I definitely feel like within my lifetime the world will be irrevocably changed and damaged by what we’re doing. Probably by the next 30 years–we won’t be able to keep up this lifestyle.

Do you think about what this hard future could look like?

I don’t know what it could look like. I don’t know if we can change our behavior to adapt to it. I like the idea that something I could do could make a difference, but I think that people who care enough about it to try to make a difference are gonna be too late.

Does it weigh on your mind?

When I think about it, yeah. I don’t know that there’s a value in thinking about it. Well, no, there is a value in thinking about it. I wanna change something but I don’t know how to do it. I don’t even know who you would talk to. … I can’t picture that world and I feel like I will have to soon. 

*

The environment itself. The water, the rise of the water. The climate shifting–just the climate changing. Is that all right — do you have what you need?

*

I go to school in Ohio and we’re doing a lot with climate change out there — mostly fracking. I’m involved with the campus climate organizations and we’ve gotten them to stop using paper cups, we’re working to stop takeout containers, we got off coal, that was a big one, onto gas–which is still bad, but it’s not coal. We’ve increased local foods. We’re part of a larger coalition of schools that have organized protests in DC–I haven’t been able to go, we always had things closer to home–and we’ve gone and said hello to the OH state senate.

*

I’m not worried about RI, I’m worried about the earth. We’re supposed to be these great beings of light … We are the potential to change the world, only a few are in control and they have lied to us to get us to serve them. We all have to serve each other. 

*

Survival. Affordable housing–I’m disabled, but because I have an arrest record–all misdemeanors except one felony, that was back in 1986–I’m a good guy, I’m an accomplished cartoonist, I’m funny, I wanna be a mentor to teeenagers and tell about what happened to me. 

*

Just take the precaution! I have a son, he’s turning three in a week and I worry about what kind of life he’s gonna have. I don’t have time to put any thought into my future, I’m too busy thinking about his future … How do you not at least care not to make it worse?

 

Today’s poem:

on a local level

all levels are local

the names of the dead are known

before we turn around

before they hit the ground

the standard we use to determine

if someone has died or

if someone is inexhaustible

 

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3 thoughts on “Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 7

  1. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: Looking Back and Looking Forward | climateanxietycounseling

  2. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 5/21, 4/9 | climateanxietycounseling

  3. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 5/21, 4/13 | climateanxietycounseling

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