Support systems

There’s this thing about climate mood. When you go deep and feel the sadness and the fear that comes with understanding how precarious a state we’re in, even a climate-sympathetic family member can feel like a Trumpian denier when they don’t seem to embrace a sense of emergency commensurate to your own. Such was my case with my own dear family for a long time. My dad would concede that climate change was bad…but then ask me what we should have for dinner. Which is absolutely normal. Figuring out what to have for dinner is really, really important in our family.

I don’t need or want my loved ones to feel the angst I feel about the planet, but knowing they support me plays no small part in countering my mean greens. This very newsletter has made me realize that the more I talk about how I feel, the more the ones I love empathize and support. After all, we’re all on this Minimum Viable Planet together. My mum snapped the photo above of an adorable couple in Miami Beach. She thought I’d love their tote. The couple asked why she wanted a photo and they ended up having a lovely chat. Anti-consumerist tote bag as conversation starter. Meanwhile, my dad has taken to sending me JAMA articles about the medical implications of climate change. And my husband has thoughtfully (and helpfully) begun editing this newsletter with gusto, sharing useful links all the while. In short, the more I talk, the more they support. Duh.

I sometimes feel that people can understand everything I’m thinking about climate change, not realizing that they can neither read minds nor diaries. But the desire to not be a Debbie Downer may cloud me from talking about climate stuff very much at all. Don’t go there, my inner voice says, when the conversation gets anywhere near methane. Yes, I run in some strange circles.

The very first MVP came with a prompt to talk talk talk. But I’m realizing talk is table stakes. We need to always be talking. In the least hectoring, most vivid ways we can, of course. But talking to fill the hot air with our thoughts and feelings and sadness and jokes.