Grief and anxiety over climate change drove this 30-year-old to write a letter to his future child
Last year, the American Psychiatric Association reported that about two-thirds of Americans (67%) are somewhat or extremely anxious about the impact of climate change on the planet, and 55% have similar levels of anxiety about their own mental health. Against this backdrop, CNBC is publishing a series of accounts of how climate watchers, leaders and empaths are facing the emotional toll of climate change and finding a way through their anxiety.
The first in this series comes from Daniel Sherrell, the author of “Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World.” Sherrell, 30, is a climate movement political organizer and is currently the Campaign Director for the Climate Jobs National Resource Center, where he’s working to combat climate change and reverse income inequality by creating union clean energy jobs. He wrote “Warmth” as a correspondence to a potential future child.
The following are excerpts of Sherrell’s comments in a telephone interview with CNBC. They have been edited for brevity and clarity.
The generational divide
I am not resentful of boomers. I have many boomers who I love dearly. But even those I love dearly and stand with me in solidarity on climate issues, I think have a hard time assimilating the full reality of the climate crisis because their schemas for what the world is and how it operates were fixed in their youth when climate change was not on the radar at all.
For most ordinary folks, [climate change] was not a thing they felt like they had to contend with. And it’s come sort of out of nowhere in their old age. And I think it’s overwhelming to a lot of folks in my parents’ generation to the extent that they sort of sleepwalk through it. They know the facts. They’ve seen Al Gore’s Powerpoint. They know the trend lines are going upward.
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