January 3, 2020

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Joel Nodelman

5 Definitive Stages of Climate Change Grief

About the author

Joel is an engineer and risk management specialist with over forty years of professional practice. He is committed to helping his clients achieve climate resiliency and sustainability.

It occurred to me that accepting the harsh reality of climate change is very much like the grieving process. We go through stages. Some of us may skip a step here and there, and we may bounce around between stages.  

You might recall the five stages of grief.

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargaining, and finally
  • Acceptance

Our goal is to get to acceptance. 

Those of us who advocate for climate action, have all travelled this journey.

This year, my goal is to help others along this path.

The Road to Climate Change Acceptance

It is now clear that fighting anger, with anger, just makes more anger. Instead, we need to guide folks along this path. We need to acknowledge that denial and anger are natural responses to a loss - the loss of an old way of life. And, loss is scary.

I pledge to be more sensitive to where folks are along the path. What stage of the process? And how to best help them at each stage. Each stage signifies growth in understanding that will ultimately lead to acceptance.

Conversion isn't instantaneous. It will take work, and those of us who have travelled this path have the tools to ease the way of those that follow in our footsteps.


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