Climate Anxiety Counseling: 5/16/16

Weather: Sunny, breezy, cool; hard gusts of wind now and then.

Number of people: 10 stoppers, 3 walkbys.

Number of hecklers: 0!

Pages of notes: 5

People known to me, and I to them, from past seasons: 3

People who commented on the Peanuts reference: 1

Number of dogs seen: 1, from afar

Number of dogs pet: 0

Conversations between people who didn’t previously know each other: 2

Drawings added to my notes by another person: 1

Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $1.85



An interlocutor accidentally knocked over my money jar today, so I will need a new one.

One of the hecklers from the previous day came back and didn’t heckle me at all.

I really screwed up a conversation today. When you read the conversations below, you’ll be able to tell which one it is, I think–rather than listening to the person and traveling with them from their starting point, I positioned myself against them, which seemed to have the effect of driving them further into their own position. I don’t want to do this again, but the damage with this person has been done, and I feel pretty terrible (not asking for reassurance here, but adding to the record in order to cement the lesson).


Some conversations:

I think climate change is definitely something big. This is our home–where we gonna go after this? We don’t wanna go into our house and have exhaust there. Or for our kids, our kids are everything.

Have you seen the climate changing during your life?

I don’t think I’ve seen it–I guess when I was a kid it snows when it’s supposed to snow, now it snows when it isn’t supposed to.

And that messes up things for plants and stuff.

Or animals! It was snowin’ on flamingos. Or on Mount Everest–I work with people from 26 different countries, so it’s like I travel without traveling. I work with a lotta people from Nepal, and they were saying there’s no more snow on Mount Everest. They’ve seen it change drastically.


Anxieties around people.

What have you tried that helps you deal with it?

I drink. It helps–I go to the Providence Center. You don’t know who’s the good people and who’s the bad people, you can’t trust somebody you don’t know. I mainly stick with my family, and I built some friends over the years, but I’m not gonna trust them like I trust my family. I don’t work, I get a check. The problem with the Providence Center is they’re not gonna give me the pill that works, because it’s addictive.


Not being homeless again. I don’t ever want to be homeless. I live in a sober house, but I smoke a lot of pot. I’m most worried about them smelling pot on me. They don’t like you smoking in the house at all. I have a prescription for it, but they don’t care. The apartment is just right where I can afford it. I think I need different friends–they’ll be like, “Let’s do this,” but it’s always, “Let’s go smoke,” it’s not like, “Let’s have a picnic” or “Let’s volunteer somewhere.” I can’t achieve anything where I’m at.


There’s definitely change going on and we’re kinda stuck in the middle with climate change–in my mind, the goal should be restorative efforts and for it to be discussed more often.

Do you talk about it with people?

I don’t talk about it too often. It’s just a matter of finding like minds. I’m kinda shaky on the subject. I would be willing to listen to others about it, I might seek out other information. I’d like to see more education on maybe gardening, when it comes to planting things–if I was trying to grow something, I wouldn’t know how to start.

[I recommended the South Side Community Land Trust to this person and the next person, who was also interested in growing things.]



Working to help said people start some type of farm–there’s not food growing here, why is that? It’s been stated many times that there’s a hunger problem. When I drive down the street and I see people’s lawns–grass doesn’t feed people! I feel like there’s a lot of red tape, it’s not as easy as buying some land. If you’re poor, you can’t afford a yard–you might get a cool landlord but otherwise…

What do you think might make landlords, for example, more willing to let people grow stuff in the front yard?

Maybe if you made it a cultural moment. You create a little bit of hype about it, you show that it is benefiting you, show that it is flourishing and make it something that a lot of people wanna do–“Hey, if you don’t like what the government’s doing…” Maybe not a lot people have the get up and go to do that? A good way would be to have a landlord incentive, see other people down your block doing it.


I talked to a meteorologist and he says he doesn’t think climate change is really happening. He says it’s gonna go a hundred years and then go back.

A lot of scientists are pretty sure it’s happening.

Well, he’s a meteorologist, so I think he would know.

Maybe. A meteorologist studies the weather in the short term, but do they study it over long, long periods of time?

Oh, like geologists?

Yeah, exactly. They look at the big patterns over time and they see these changes.

Well, he says it’s not a long enough time to know, and I’m sticking with him.


2 thoughts on “Climate Anxiety Counseling: 5/16/16

  1. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: 5/24/16 | climateanxietycounseling

  2. Pingback: Climate Anxiety Counseling: 5/26/16 | climateanxietycounseling

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