So much bad climate news!

Maybe you’re blessed with the kind of sunny temperament that can shrug off bad news. Or maybe that news makes you angry and that anger motivates you to act. But what if it just bums you out, makes you want to curl up under the covers and decide there’s no point to doing anything about climate change?

Well, there are reasons you might feel we’re doomed, at least at times. For instance, bad news outplays good news, and we remember bad stuff more readily and longer: Psychologists call this our “negativity bias.” It’s also true that we’re stuck with the unhappy climate changes we’re seeing now, plus some we’re bound to see, such as still more sea-level rise.  

But there are excellent reasons to reject these feelings, to fight back against their dark allure. Some of these reasons, as we recently explored here, are matters of scientific fact. Others are more about our hearts and minds. We can, with a reasonable amount of effort, simply decide we won’t let hopelessness take charge of what we think and feel, what kind of people we want to be, and especially how we act in the world. Read on for some anti-doomer encouragement.

Start with these two very good overview articles:

As Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann points out, to give up is to join the opposition: the big carbon polluters want us to think they’ve already won. He also reminds us that our situation is one of urgency (we really do have to act quickly) and agency (our actions matter a lot). The first half of this Australian podcast interview is particularly relevant:

This personal piece makes clear the cost to other people of doom-talk (and the harmful role of privilege in this matter):

For Costa Rican journalist Diego Arguedas Ortiz’s personal take on how we have to earn the kind of anti-doom hope we need now, read this column, and listen to the podcast interview starting around minute 43:

Finally, two especially valuable links here. As those who struggle against hopelessness know well, we all can use help with what happens inside our own heads. These two collections offer very useful suggestions for strengthening our fighting spirits:


This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.

SueEllen Campbell

SueEllen Campbell created and for over a decade curated the website "100 Views of Climate Change," a multidisciplinary collection of pieces accessible to interested non-specialists. She is especially interested...