21 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day: Let Yourself Grieve

Each day of the month of April leading up to Earth Day (April 22), I will be offering a suggestion for how we can really honor the Earth this year. This list will go beyond the usual suggestions to change your light bulbs and take shorter showers. Instead, the focus is on collective action working toward radical social change.

“This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.” — Joanna Macy

As you learn about the climate crisis and work for change, there will be times when you are overwhelmed with grief.  Grief is not the same thing as despair.  Grief is a natural and healthy reaction to the human desecration of the earth and its biosphere.

Avoidance of grief reinforces the pattern of psychological repression and conspicuous consumption that is the status quo.  So one thing you can do to honor the Earth this Earth Day is to let yourself grieve.It is necessary for us to face our grief in order to move beyond our destructive ways of being.

Don’t ignore your feelings, either through resignation or through forced optimism. Feel what you feel.

Here are some links to Joanna Macy’s writing on working through environmental despair:Working through environmental despair (audio and excerpt)

Transforming despair (interview)

Despair work (article, begins on p. 19)

The Wild Geese: Joanna Macy on befriending our despair

BEFRIENDING OUR DESPAIR: Joanna Macy from Tim Wilson on Vimeo.

3 thoughts on “21 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day: Let Yourself Grieve”

  1. Thank you for that. Sometimes when reading about the utter devastation of the ecosphere, grief is overwhelming. It’s good to hear that its OK to grieve (of course if that grief can spur action so much the better).


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