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The Great Grief: How To Cope with Losing Our World

The Great Grief: How To Cope with Losing Our World

Per Espen Stoknes

Climate scientists overwhelmingly say that we will face unprecedented warming in the coming decades. Those same scientists, just like you or I, struggle with the emotions that are evoked by these facts and dire projections.

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Of late, when I watch a program by David Attenborough, all I can think of is “Sol” (Edward G. Robinson) in the Movie “Soylent Green”, as he prepares to die.


This guy’s a psychologist?!? And he doesn’t recognise that the step after mourning is moving on?

There isn’t going to be any “moving on” --except to the fossil record!-- from climate changes so severe that virtually none of the mammalian species living today ever experienced it. As far as we know, no member of genus Homo lived so long ago. 3M years BP was the time of australopithecus africanus, and about all we have from them is upright walking.


If you and your children are not vegetarians you are a part of the problem. I am sick of meat eaters who wring their hands in anguish over a problem created in large part by their food choices. Want to see a 17-18% drop in greenhouse gases? Boycott meat. Want to see substantial reductions of heart attacks? Cancers? Same action. So many problems originate in the animal slaughter industry. If you really love the earth, stop killing its creatures. If you care for your own body, stop feeding it with dead bodies.


There is law and then there is the LAW

“The law says if you poison the water, you’ll die.
The law says that if you poison the air, you’ll suffer.
The law says if you degrade where you live, you’ll suffer…
If you don’t learn that, you can only suffer.
There’s no discussion with this law.”

Chief Oren Lyons


Thank your for posting/sharing this.

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For a long time I’ve been mourning, and in a state of despair and grief. Now I read this article that tells me that I am well ahead of most people. I guess this sort of cheers me up :kissing:

Not having children has been the best decision I’ve made in my life.


So, there is actually an interesting opposite to this concept. We as humans have an amazing degree of influence on the health of the planet, just by our thoughts and attitudes. To me, the research points to the fact that our collective consciousness is aggravating and accelerating the downward spiral, just as our physical activities are contributing to the problem. If this is true, we can collectively slow or even reverse a lot of the problems being experienced. To cite from the Princeton University site (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research):

"The Spiritual: Cultural Implications

Beyond its revolutionary technological applications and scientific impact, the evidence of an active role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality holds profound implications for our view of ourselves, our relationships to others, and to the cosmos in which we exist. These, in turn, must inevitably impact our values, our priorities, our sense of responsibility, and our style of life. Our ability to acquire, or to generate tangible, measurable information independent of distance or time challenges the foundation of any reductionist brain-based model of consciousness that may be invoked. The lack of notable correlations in the data with standard learning curves or other recognizable cognitive patterns, combined with the repeatable and distinct gender-related differences, suggest that these abilities may stem from a more fundamental source than heretofore suspected.

Certainly, there is little doubt that integration of these changes in our understanding of ourselves can lead to a substantially superior human ethic, wherein the long-estranged siblings of science and spirit, of analysis and aesthetics, of intellect and intuition, and of many other subjective and objective aspects of human experience can be productively reunited."

Something to ponder.

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We don’t need an ion battery or savvy, smart self-driving cars
Don’t need no cold fusion power or an outpost out on Mars.
Like those were here before us, learn to do with what we got
Give up some so much have and get along with more have not.


The opposite of Great Grief is Cheap Grace.

Yes the obliteration of life on Earth is sad.

Even sadder when one realizes that mankind is responsible.

But the anger arises when those in power refuse to take the steps that are required to reverse the trend of Greenhouse Gases vented into our atmosphere.

Anger because we could stop it…if we had the governmental will, Unfortunately our legislators are too beholden to and dominated by the power of the predator fossil fuel industries .

So while I think there is a glimmer of hope I will continue to try and influence those legislative decision makers. From what I read, if we have any time, it could be as little as 0-10 years.

I prefer Johanna Macy’s approaches to this problem. .



Thank you very much Mr. head shrinker! But maybe we don’t want to get past anger and go into mourning. Maybe we’d rather stay in anger mode until the dynasty families who are doing this to us are swinging from lamp posts.

They are:


(sorry, but divesting your trust fund just passes the stock from one Robber Baron to another. We’re not going to fall for it Rockefellers! The only answer is to purge this incompetent world leadership. The nepotism of dynasty families is slowly killing all of us. Start writing Generals and the CIA follks! We have no representation if TPP passes!)

It’s the hottest month on record in many places, according to Dr. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground:

An extreme May heat wave unprecedented in European recorded history has invaded Spain and Portugal, bringing the hottest May temperatures ever recorded on the continent. According to the Spanish meteorological agency, AEMET, at least four stations in the Valencian Community of eastern Spain hit temperatures today in excess of the previous European May heat record set just eight days ago–a 41.9°C (107.4°F) reading at Catenanuova, Sicily (Italy) on May 6. Today’s European record-breaking May temperatures in Spain included:

Carcaixent: 42.9°C (109.2°F)
Xativa: 42.7°C (108.9°F)
Algemesi: 42.6°C (108.7°F)
Valencia: 42.5°C (108.5°F)

Many stations in Spain’s Valencian community went above their June records, and were near their all-time records for any month. The record set at Valencia Airport today was 6.5°C (11.7°F) above the previous highest May temperature, was 4.3°C (7.7°F) higher than the record for June, and was the 3rd hottest temperature since records began in 1869 for any month! This week’s heat wave began yesterday, when hot air from North Africa flowed northwards over Spain and Portugal, setting all-time May heat records at Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Ciudad Real, Granada, and many other cities. Portugal beat its all-time May heat record with a 40.0°C (104.0°F) reading at Beja EMA (old record: 39.5°C, 103.1°F, at Regua on May 28, 2001.) The most remarkable record yesterday, however, was from the Canary Islands to the southwest of Spain, where Lanzarote Airport hit 42.6°C (108.7°F), breaking its old record for the entire month of May by 6°C (10.8°F)! The old record was 36.6 °C (97.9°F) on May 24, 1986…

Florida residents, if you thought April 2015 seemed ridiculously hot, you were right–April 2015 was Florida’s hottest April on record, said NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on Tuesday. The contiguous U.S. experienced its 17th warmest April since 1895, with the most notable heat in the Southeast U.S., where Georgia and South Carolina also experienced top-ten warmest Aprils on record. No portions of the country were notably cooler than average.



This is not a story
it is a heart, a last bloom in a family
of blooms, a sun in the drying rivers,
little wet places that crack and turn to moon.

There is no one to blame but myself
when the last great beasts
trample the village or the village
tramples the last great beasts.

I am aware of your sickness
oh sea, I grind the last corn
in the palm of my stony gratitude
and make a whore of every tree, a cesspool

of every spring. There are little hungry islands
in the carnivorous currents, and all the cosmetic
jets and gyres of our junk
spin the planet into loss

upon loss upon loss. Do I dream?
Do the animals from the storms in my sleep narrow
and reduce as if the store of symbols in my
great soul can only shrink

by degrees every time a rare dragonfly
disappears or a swallowing salamander
buries in mud that is scooped away
in the tunnels of our lust?

I want badly to live past my life
but my home is shedding its sins, burned and blown,
and the offspring of my dreams
have lost their colors

and their dark sky.
These are the days we understand
how much we are merely one
and nothing can be broken apart.

The gods make teeth of the intrepid
invasives, blistering ferns and loosestrife and hordes of carp.
The last giant trees fall over in a little breeze.
After our deaths

there will be no other.


One suggestion was for us and all our children to not eat meat.
Great advice, fasure…but not making more humans is even more important.
I am 60. i remember when I was 18, working as a nurse’s aid,I told an old school RN that I was not going to have kids. She seriously took me aside and gravely asked “Who is going to take care of you when you get old?” As if that were a sufficiant, sane reason to bring a human into the world. That question has haunted me, the truly messed up reasons folks have for reproducing…accident, somebody to love or care for me, a mini-me to admire…terrifying, actually, the lack of something resembling thinking about what parenting, reproducing, really means, actually entails. If we could change one aspect of human behavior, that might be where I would start. Giving up poor lifestyle/dietary choices are good, fewer people entering this world is better.


amazing. thank you for this.
hard to call it beautiful, something so sad,
yet it is just so.

thanks. I think there is hope in facing what we lose squarely and unflinchingly.


Went to a Green Party meeting tonight… and handed out this article… 3 copies… this is paper well used…

No one is talking about despair, we are talking about facing reality… we hear alot about this and that “program” or technology… or practice… certain practices… like permaculture… I can jump on that band wagon… but, it is important to realize, it is not really, not really a shortage of ideas and practices that get n our way to effect change… but… rather… opposition or out down right denialism…
So, the only way to get people to really see for them selves…is to engage and educate… so, even if they think they are in charge… make sure you get in just the right info… to wake them up…


Governmental will? We can be proactive by refusing to eat slaughtered animals and we don’t need the government to do that for us. Why are meat eaters refusing to change their lifestyle while demanding that the government fix the problem caused in large part by that lifestyle? Whatever happened to individual responsibility?

Not all activities can be eliminated nor do all activities need to be eliminated. To equate cooking food - any food - and wearing clothes to the severe environmental damage caused by the animal slaughter industry indicates that you haven’t put much thought into this subject.