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Are you eco-grieving?

Trish Hennessy

You know something is gravely wrong when you see #AmazonFires trending on Twitter, in response to deliberately set Amazon forest fires under a Brazilian government that is taking no action to make it stop.

It is to weep.

“The Amazon is the centre of the world. Right now, as our planet experiences climate collapse, there is nowhere more important. If we don’t grasp this, there is not way to meet that challenge.” — Eliane Brum, The Guardian.

And it’s not just about a burning Amazon, dangerous as it is. Signs of climate crisis are everywhere, starting with the weather. This was not your grandfather’s summer: July was the hottest on record. Ever. Read here and here.

Cities are declaring a climate emergency. Edmonton is the latest. Read here. In Indonesia, the government is moving its capital from Jakarta to the island of Borneo because of the climate crisis(!!). Read here.

There is actually a term for how many of us are processing the existential crisis posed by climate change and human destruction of our planet—coupled with inadequate government response to address the crisis: eco-grief.

There is no Planet B, but Upstream is pleased to present Plan B: a new podcast series by veteran broadcaster Ralph Benmergui who, as our host, will do what Ralph does best: engage us with thoughtful conversation and storytelling on key social determinants of health challenges.

In his first Plan B podcast, Ralph talks about climate change, eco-grief, and where we can take that energy.

Guest Leslie Davenport, a therapist who counsels people through climate grief and wrote the book Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change: A Clinician’s Guide, says climate change can spark a large-scale existential crisis but also affects individual life choices. Like a couple she counselled who lost their home to the Santa Rosa forest fire and questioned whether they should continue to live in that part of California or embark on a new way of life, leaving friends behind.

Guest Laura Keeth, who lives in Alberta and organizes climate grief circles, describes how she is working through “a complicated grief” over planet breakdown: an unending anxiety and grief around extinctions, the ramifications of climate change, and a general unwillingness to do anything about it.

For the planet, time to action Plan B.


“Hold the problem in your mind. Freak out, but don’t put it down. Give it a quarter-turn. See it like a scientist, and as a poet. As a descendant. As an ancestor.” Dan Zak, Washington Post.


16-year-old Greta Thunberg crosses the Atlantic to raise the stakes on climate action, inspiring people around the world. “Let’s not wait any longer,” she told a cheering crowd in New York City. “Let’s do it now.” Read about her journey here.

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