Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 12

Weather: Gray, damp and chilly, misting with occasional actual rain and gusts of wind

Number of people: 9 stoppers, 2 walk-bys

Number of hecklers: 1, possibly? Couldn’t really hear him (seems to be a pattern)

Pages of notes: 9

Conversations between people previously unknown to one another: 0.5

Packets of Small State Seeds given away: 7 (we still have some left, come tomorrow!)

People who recognized and commented on the Peanuts reference: 1

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $1.31



Number one thing that seems to keep stoppers’ numbers down is cold and rain — people are more eager to get where they’re going, and if they don’t have anywhere to go, they’re still less inclined to conversation.

Related: Butts can shiver, it turns out.

Someone yesterday brought up the political valence of climate change as it’s discussed in the U.S., and how that separates Americans from the reality of it. That’s been showing up a lot this week. Other themes today: low-emissions cars, how to talk to people you don’t know.


Some conversations: 


I think it’s some natural, a lot manmade, and it’s definitely something to be worried about. It affects not only us. This is where we live. But I believe that things happen for the good of the planet eventually — like the ice age helped the planet overall.

I get what you’re saying about the long term, but how do you think people can help each other in the short term?

I feel like it’s the little things that work towards something big. Like some people say “I can’t help because I can’t do that much,” but if everyone does a smaller part, it can have positive effects.

What about things like driving less?

Driving definitely is a problem, but maybe it’s more like not to drive things that–like some cars, all they do is pollute. Maybe more efficient cars, but that’s companies’ responsibility to make more efficient cars, cars that don’t pollute.


Do you ever talk to people you don’t know about it?

Not too often. If somebody says something really ignorant–but I don’t go up to people and go, “Hey, world’s kinda hot today.” … We need to change people’s ideas around how they use energy, how they use renewable and unrenewable resources. It seems like when people talk about this, they’re not giving a good reason, or they’re not presenting the information in the correct manner.

What is the correct manner? 

I don’t know. I feel like one way to enact that sort of change is to look at examples. Holland decided, instead of burning fossil fuels, they’d burn their trash for energy. And then they had so little trash, they actually take trash from France and Belgium. It’s the same with solar energy and wind energy–if you have more than you need, you can sell it back to the grid and make money. Or you can live off the grid, there are people who do that–they call them “landships”, they use the methane from their waste to heat their houses. They’re totally self-sufficient.

That’s silly, they’re not self-sufficient. The trees make their air–

Okay, they’re not relying on outside human systems.


I started thinking about how people think of things as replaceable–the things we buy are designed to last shorter and shorter. What if some CEO was in the production business, and he wanted to shorten the business model to have the company for like, 7 years, and then get out? What if he just made the highest quality things he could and they would last for ever? What it means for something to be replaceable–if our things are replaceable, are we replaceable? The thing that isn’t replaceable is the earth … The other thing that really makes me anxious is that people seem to think different activisms can’t work together, like social justice and environmental justice–they’re seen as irrelevant to each other. But the physical place where people live is so related to hierarchies of power. 


Society doesn’t care until it’s at your back doorstep, and then it’s too late. Let’s find better ways of getting cars not to put so much emissions into the air, factories not to put so much pollution. Let’s find ways to care about the environment. America is one of the best countries in the world. We have every advantage, we just need to appreciate it more. 


I’m concerned about it but I don’t know how to get people to be concerned about it as well. Frankly, I think people think it’s almost not real. … We all have this common thought that the government’s gonna protect us, that if there was anything to be worried about, they’d be worried. I believe people do notice it. But they’re like, “Oh, I’m just one person”–that’s how I feel sometimes. But also, how can you move from conversation to the next step? My friends from college and I have these great philosophical conversations, but how can we move from conversation to action, how can we accompany our thoughts with some actions? I don’t do as much as I should do, but I believe it’s our duty to do it. 


Today’s poem: 

The idea that there’s always going

to be more especially

more to take away

is with us even if we were

or are the children of

the ones taken even

if our name was plunder

way back in the family

presumption of bounty

has communicated itself

like a blight on a host

it moves on

to ourselves and staggers

how we disease

and how we sicken

the whole incontinent

so wide we thought

it could never be us

we could never be full

communicably we came through

with no sense of waste

with consequence of waste

and now in a double blink

we forward our future to our present

we say goodbye to our beloved grasses

even though they’re waving

our beloved ashes even

though they’re standing right

in front of us making promises we see

through them we see right through them




One thought on “Climate Anxiety Counseling: Day 12

  1. Pingback: Alternate Histories: 5/28, 4/16 | climateanxietycounseling

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