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Climate change triggers emotions. ‘Climate grief’ or ecological grief refers to the emotional response to the loss and anxiety associated with the “overall effects of climate change.” Climate change has an impact on human health—physical and mental. While the physical impacts of climate change have been linked to respiratory ailments, like asthma, because of air pollution and heatstroke, various psychological ailments and mental health concerns are emotional impacts of climate change and are often overlooked.

The uncertainty associated with climate change requires people to deal with changes that have already occurred, and with complex feelings of not knowing what additional changes will emerge in the future; this exacerbates anxiety and grief. Names for climate grief can take on regional terms. For example, “winter grief” is the grief of the loss of traditional winters due to climate change. “Snow anxiety,” and grappling with simultaneous feelings of “winter joy” and “snow relief” are some of the ways that Arctic communities express the spectrum of feelings associated with managing uncertainty in the landscape due to climate change.

Climate grief is prevalent in Arctic communities. The Inuit experience of “solastalgia”—a feeling of home sickness without ever leaving home”—is linked to the psychological impact of seeing the landscape of melting ice due to climate change. The unpredictability of the “shoulder season”—the period between hunting seasons—is a cause for worry among the Inuit. Fluctuations in the amount of snow in the winter and Spring temperatures make it increasingly difficult for Inuit to plan for their lives. With the melting ice limiting access to land and water, Inuit with otherwise strong cultural connections to the landscape are experiencing a form of seasonal affective disorder. The loss of one’s home and the shifting conditions for Arctic survival are feeding a sadness, on top of the impacts of colonialism, regarded by some as a social determinant of health.

Climate change effects also disrupt Indigenous knowledge systems and feed anxiety in the loss of one’s culture. Inuit fear loss of species if there is “no more sea ice” and loss of connection to the land. The cumulative loss of land over years for Inuit communities of Nunatsiavut, Labrador, Canada and the resultant loss of sense of place, are at the root of ecological grief, with the concomitant effect of loss of local knowledge.

The Climate Atlas recognizes how mental health impacts of climate change fall into three main categories: experiences of extreme weather events; experiences of environmental changes; and awareness of climate change experiences. Climate grief and distress affects all age groups. Author of “A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety,” Sarah Jaquette Ray notes that the population born “at the tail end of the Millennial generation,” also known as Generation Z or iGen, are “the first to have spent [their] entire lives with the effects of climate change,” and that everyone should mirror their tremendous energy and address climate distress by renewing one’s “commitment to climate advocacy.”

 

By Leela Viswanathan

 

(Image Credit: Jeremy Bishop, Unsplash)

Events

Virtual Event Information from ArcticNet:

Hosted entirely online December 6 – 10, 2021, the ArcticNet Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting 2021 (ASM2021) is a hub for Arctic research in Canada. The ASM2021 brings together researchers from the natural, health, and social sciences to meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing Arctic region, shaped by climate change and modernization. This conference will push the boundaries of our collective understanding of the Arctic and strengthen our ability to address the Arctic issues of today and tomorrow.

We need interdisciplinary, pan-Arctic, and pan-northern cooperation and knowledge sharing to meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing Arctic and Northern region shaped by climate change and modernization. As a hub for Arctic research in Canada, the ArcticNet Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) brings together a broad range of research in and about the Arctic and northern regions of Canada and the world. The ASM advances our collective understanding of the Arctic and North, with an inclusive view of the Arctic spanning from Inuit Nunangat, across the Canadian territories, circumpolar Arctic regions, and more.

To learn more or to register for ASM2021, visit the ArcticNet event page.

 

Information source: https://arcticnet.swoogo.com/2021/1188342?lang=en.

Image Credit: ArcticNet

 

 

The Arctic Resilience Forum will be convened every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm (EST) over a series of ten weeks, beginning October 7, 2020. The online series seeks to engage a broad audience in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including:

  • December 2: Financing Resilience
  • December 9: Infrastructure
  • December 16: Respecting Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Systems

NOTE: Individual session pages will open up with registration for specific events approximately one-week in advance.

Click here to register for individual sessions.

Click here to register for multiple sessions.

 

(Image Source: Arctic Council, https://arctic-council.org)

The Arctic Resilience Forum will be convened every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm (EST) over a series of ten weeks, beginning October 7, 2020. The online series seeks to engage a broad audience in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including:

  • December 16: Respecting Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Systems

NOTE: Individual session pages will open up with registration for specific events approximately one-week in advance.

Click here to register.

 

(Image Source: Arctic Council, https://arctic-council.org)

The Arctic Resilience Forum will be convened every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm (EST) over a series of ten weeks, beginning October 7, 2020. The online series seeks to engage a broad audience in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including:

  • December 9: Infrastructure
  • December 16: Respecting Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Systems

NOTE: Individual session pages will open up with registration for specific events approximately one-week in advance.

Click here to register for individual sessions.

Click here to register for multiple sessions.

 

(Image Source: Arctic Council, https://arctic-council.org)

The Arctic Resilience Forum will be convened every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm (EST) over a series of ten weeks, beginning October 7, 2020. The online series seeks to engage a broad audience in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including:

  • October 28: Human Health and Pandemics
  • November 11: Broadband Connectivity
  • November 18: Gender
  • November 25: Socio-Ecological Resilience
  • December 9: Infrastructure
  • December 16: Respecting Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Systems

NOTE: Individual session pages will open up with registration for specific events approximately one-week in advance.

Click here to register for individual sessions.

Click here to register for multiple sessions.

 

(Image Source: Arctic Council, https://arctic-council.org)

The Arctic Resilience Forum will be convened every Wednesday from 11:30am – 1:00pm (EST) over a series of ten weeks, beginning October 7, 2020. The online series seeks to engage a broad audience in conversations about how to build the resilience of Arctic communities and ecosystems across a variety of focus areas, including:

  • October 14: Food Security
  • October 21: Renewable Energy
  • October 28: Human Health and Pandemics
  • November 11: Broadband Connectivity
  • November 18: Gender
  • November 25: Socio-Ecological Resilience
  • December 9: Infrastructure
  • December 16: Respecting Traditional Indigenous Knowledge Systems

NOTE: Individual session pages will open up with registration for specific events approximately one-week in advance.

Click here to register for individual sessions.

Click here to register for multiple sessions.

 

(Image Source: Arctic Council, https://arctic-council.org)