Letter to the Editor: Resilience and the Climate Crisis

For me, the end of 2022 brought a welcome distraction from my climate anxiety. The joy of the holidays and the heavy snowfall in December allowed me to relax and remember what winters in Wisconsin used to feel like.

Unfortunately, the start of 2023 brought back above-average temperatures and my anxiety along with them. Now I look out my window and see a muddy mess that’s reminiscent of spring rather than the beautiful winter landscape we used to associate with January.

To cope with my climate anxiety, I’ve been researching and reflecting on the concept of resilience and how it relates to the climate crisis. Most of the information I found on this topic relates to building resiliency within our societies to withstand and reduce the negative impacts of the climate crisis. 

The key words with this movement are “mitigation” and “adaptation.” An example of crucial mitigation will involve eliminating greenhouse-gas emissions. An example of adaptation will be building infrastructure to withstand extreme weather and sea-level rise.

Building societal resilience to the climate crisis is crucial, but I believe building resilience within ourselves is important as well. Without internal resilience, it is easy to become overwhelmed by fear, which results in denial and shutting down. We need to find ways to cope with our climate stress, such as counseling, meditation and daily doses of positive climate news. This internal resilience will enable us to absorb the difficult information and take action.

Anna Schuh

Seymour, Wisconsin