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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

NY faith leaders help people address 'ecological grief'

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Tuesday, March 5, 2024   

As the impacts of climate change grow, New Yorkers and people across the country are grieving for the environment.

Ecological grief, also known as "solastalgia," has become an increasing response to climate change. A 2020 American Psychological Association survey finds almost 70% of people feel climate change is affecting their mental health.

The Reverend Chelsea MacMillan, New York organizer with GreenFaith, a multi-faith climate action organization, says the group hosts grief circles for people to commiserate about climate change.

"People are grieving the decline of bird populations, longhorn sheep that are dying in the Sierra Nevada due to extreme weather conditions," she explained. "There was heavy snowfall there this past year."

MacMillan added people are also grieving shorter and warmer winters. She sees a growing sense of hopelessness in these circles, in response to a lack of political will.

Countries worldwide are moving to a climate-friendly future, but it's uncertain how effective these efforts are. A 2022 United Nations report
finds global greenhouse-gas emissions are declining. However, it isn't fast enough to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century.

While the grief circles concentrate on environmental issues, they sometimes open up to ongoing current events as well. MacMillan said people also are distressed by the growing sense of apathy about the world. She noted this distress has even led some to question their faith.

"I think they see a lot of clergy and faith leaders not responding to these crises, and instead focusing on the afterlife or focusing on their homogenous communities, and how do we protect our homogeneous communities from these perceived threats in the world," MacMillan added.

MacMillan feels times of crisis can strengthen a person's faith. She thinks faith isn't about waiting for God or some higher power to save the day. Rather, it's about being an active participant in heeding the cries of the world.

Disclosure: GreenFaith contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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