Societies across the globe are continuing to navigate the disparate impacts of compounding global issues – from the COVID-19 crisis to international racial justice protests, many people around the world are left with the overwhelming feeling that these issues seem insurmountable.
We also know that the climate crisis is increasingly – and disproportionately – effecting low-income communities and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color). To address these issues, Grounded founder, Julia Jackson, and Co-founder and CEO of Healer Collective, Talia Eisenberg, held a virtual roundtable alongside an innovative and inspiring panel with climate and mental health experts to openly discuss the importance of mental health during this time of high stress and anxiety, and steps we can take to help heal ourselves so we can work toward creating a healthier and more inclusive future for our planet.
During the virtual event held on July 16th, each panelist shared their personal experiences with the intersectionality of climate and race and weighed in on the impacts of eco-anxiety and climate fear and how those on the frontlines can cope with these stressors to then take action to address the climate crisis.
Psychologist and Project InsideOut founder, Dr. Renée Lertzman, recognizes each of these issues through the lens of trauma. Her advice on coping with and healing from these traumas is to recognize the fundamental need to connect – first and foremost with ourselves. We have to attune with ourselves and look at our own experiences with compassion, kindness, and curiosity. Befriending ourselves naturally informs how we then relate and connect with each other to work towards healing the planet.
As Ama Francis, Climate Law Fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, shared during the discussion, addressing the intersection of climate, race and mental health is a long fight, so it’s important that we all take the correct approach to this fight, and remember that sometimes – rest is resistance.
Youth environmental activist and Founder of One Up Action, Kevin Patel, detailed the weight of his eco-anxiety and climate fear and how he sees it firsthand effect his youth activist peers. However, he remains optimistic and believes “the climate crisis can be fixed, but that all of humanity needs to come together during the window of time we still have left.”
Panelist Dr. Ife Kilimanjaro from the US Climate Action Network feels hopeful as we’re starting to see more communities of color working on the frontlines of the climate crisis and are beginning to be included in conversations around policies and solutions – but there’s still work to be done. She offered her wisdoms for those fighting the climate crisis and anyone interested in becoming more involved to “do something, however big or small, there’s a ripple impact of anything you’re doing.”
Our deepest gratitude to the panelists and the hundreds of virtual participants who joined this conversation and offered their powerful insights on the intersection of climate, race and mental health and how we can all heal, connect and grow from each other.
We encourage you to watch the thought-provoking and we hope empowering conversation above to learn how we can all work to begin healing ourselves. In doing so, we can then work together towards healing the planet and creating a diverse, equitable and safe future for all.
Stay tuned for more solutions coming this fall with our upcoming climate solutions academy produced by BBC StoryWorks. To join our virtual community and stay in touch for the latest news, information and solutions, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and sign up for our Grounded mailing list today!