Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Atkinson
As our climate crisis deepens, feelings of anxiety, grief, and hopelessness are on the rise. Staying engaged in climate solutions over the long term requires us to avoid emotional burnout; yet when bombarded with so much bad news – mass extinction, dying oceans, displaced communities and burning forests – this is easier said than done. This talk explores the mental health dimensions of climate disruption among students, scientists, activists, and frontline communities, and shares practical strategies for building the emotional resilience to channel despair into meaningful action.
About the speaker:
Dr Jennifer Atkinson is an Associate Professor of environmental humanities at the University of Washington, Bothell. Her seminars on Eco-Grief & Climate Anxiety have been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News, the Seattle Times, Grist, the Washington Post, KUOW and many other outlets. Jennifer is currently working on a book titled An Existential Toolkit for the Climate Crisis (co-edited with Sarah Jaquette Ray), which offers strategies to help young people navigate the emotional toll of climate breakdown. She regularly collaborates with youth activists, psychologists, climate scientists and policy makers beyond the university to lead seminars on climate and mental health. Her podcast Facing It also provides tools to channel eco-anxiety into action. Currently, Jennifer is coordinating a team of interdisciplinary scholars and activists from around the world in examining the role of despair and hope within the Climate Generation, as featured on the website "An Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators” (a project supported by a grant from the Rachel Carson Center in Munich). Jennifer is also the author of Gardenland: Nature, Fantasy and Everyday Practice, a book that explores garden literature as a "fantasy genre" where people enact desires for social justice, joyful labor, and contact with nature. Her writing on the history of gardening in hard times has been featured on programs like NPR, The Conversation, and Earth Island Journal. Jennifer holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Chicago, and lives in Seattle where she’s taught at the University of Washington for the past 12 years. (This information is shared from Dr Atkinson's webpage).