5 Definitive Stages of Climate Change Grief


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

Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.​

Those of us who advocate for climate action, have travelled this journey , some of us faster than others.
In previous videos, I have shared my personal journey to climate change acceptance. It was not without its own share of bumps along the way. This year, my goal is to help others along this path. Fighting anger, with anger, just makes more anger.
We need to help guide folks along this path, acknowledge that their denial and anger is a natural response to a loss – the loss of an old way of life. This change is scary, and, I pledge to be sensitive to the various stages that people may exhibit. We need to understand that each stage signifies growth in understanding that will ultimately land on acceptance.
The conversion isn’t instantaneous. It will take work. Those of us who have travelled this path have the tools to ease the path of those that follow in our footsteps.
Having said this, I have to come to understand that, as in any other process, this will take time. The path to acceptance is not instantaneous, and here is my dilemma. Human nature demands time to reach full understanding and acceptance, but, the climate crisis is urgent. We may not have that much time to devote to the process.
This will be my struggle going forward. We cannot force people to convert. History is full of cases where that approach simply lead to violence and outcomes that were diametrically opposite to the goals that dove the process in the first place. The urgency we face drives us to promote actions that may seem crude, and rough, but, we are facing a crisis unlike any we have seen before.
We will need to be brave in the face of this crisis. We need to help others understand both the danger we are facing, and the urgency needed in this quest. So, we are fighting this battle on at least two fronts. First, we need to make changes to address climate change. Second, and equally as important, we need to help guide our fellow citizens along the path to acceptance.
So, while we need to be patient, we also need to be persistent. We need to be heard and we need to help people along the path, and we need to do it now.

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