Is This How You Feel image graphic

Scientist Ruth Mottram loves researching climate change – but at the end of the day, she has to reconcile the joy of discovery with the serious implications of her work.

Mottram shared her thoughts in a letter, which is posted on a website called “Is this is how you feel?”

Ruth Mottram

Mottram: “It’s endlessly fascinating watching how the planet reacts to changing climate, and we’re learning so much about the earth system.”

But the real-world consequences are frightening.

Mottram: “Then I go home and what seems like very arcane models and far-off projections start to seem much more real.”

For example, she begins to think about the implications for her children. By 2050 …

Mottram: “My children will only be a little older than I am now. I have a glimpse of the possible environment they will likely experience, and it is sobering. They will be living with severe problems of our own making – an acidifying ocean, reduced biodiversity, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and an Arctic environment that is very different from today.”

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So for Mottram, pinpointing how she feels about climate change is not easy.

Mottram: “Humans are an amazingly adaptable and versatile species. We are at our best when we work together on our grand challenges. So what do I feel about climate change? Interest, intellectual curiosity, satisfaction, excitement, extreme worry, sadness, fear, and perhaps a glimmer of hope.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

Sara Peach

Sara Peach is the Senior Editor of Yale Climate Connections. She is an environmental journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, Scientific American, Environmental Health News, Grist, and...