For many in the privileged world, the summer of 2021 has been a season of dismay and fear.
Damages associated with climate change – once seeming abstract, far away, and future – are fast becoming more immediate, personal, and visceral. This is so even for those who have long concerned themselves with the topic and may have already experienced its effects. Lists of recent disasters are easy to find, as in this vivid, gut-punch video from the Guardian. For illuminating context, see “Disasters Everywhere. Did Scientists See Them Coming?” (Chelsea Harvey, ClimateWire).
Recently, too, the news has brought forth some passionate, thoughtful, well-informed, and eloquent responses that might help others acknowledge the new realities. As therapists say, when we “sit with” our unpleasant feelings, name them, let ourselves feel them, try to understand them, we can be better able to move beyond them. Here is a sampling:
If you have time for only one, let it be this: Ezra Klein (NYT), “It Seems Odd That We Would Just Let the World Burn.”
Margaret Renkl, an essayist well worth following, is especially good on emotion and on private coping strategies: “I Don’t Want to Spend the Rest of My Days Grieving” (NYT). (The comments are interesting, too. This column hit home for many readers.)
Here is climate scientist Adam Sobel on “This is a dystopian moment” (CNN), when the reality outside his window overwhelms his scientific knowledge. And here is veteran climate journalist Jeff Goodell on “Our Summer from Hell” (Rolling Stone).
On the shock to the stories we like to tell ourselves about our lives:
- About ecologist Diana Six, who says, “I’ve Gone from Being an Ecologist to a Coroner” (Jyoti Madhusoodanan, The Guardian).
- On returning to a beloved place: “What I Saw in Yosemite Was Devastating” (Susannah Meadows, NYT).
- From the daughter of a doomsday prepper: “My Dad’s Prepping for the End Times. Climate Change Makes Me Think I Should, Too” (Karleigh Frisbie Brogan, Washington Post).
- On summertime: “What It Feels Like to Lose Your Favorite Season” (Anne Helen Petersen, Culture Study, Substack). Also, for broader contexts, “Is This the End of Summer as We’ve Known It?“ (Shawn Hubler, NYT) and “Lovely Weather Defined California. What Happens When It’s Gone?” (Farhad Manjoo, NYT).
Finally, on a necessary kind of adapting: “It Is Time to Step into the Role of the ‘Prospective Survivor’” (Britt Wray, Gen Dread, Substack).
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.