TV: “Climate Change: From Despair and Denial to Courage and Action”

To watch this 1-hour interview, click HERE.

To read the following information in .pdf format, click Program Description — January 2015.

Climate scientists long ago reached a virtual consensus that the climate crisis is a serious problem, but people’s reactions are varied and complex. Everyone has emotions about it, but our psychological responses differ. While some of us are working hard to cope with the problem, some other people seem stuck for various reasons.

The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s January 2015 TV program focuses on several aspects of the cli-mate crisis, including:
• “Why does there seem to be such disagreement? What can I really believe?”
• “If it is true, it’s so overwhelming! How can I face it?”
• “What can one person even do? I feel powerless to do much of anything.”

Two knowledgeable persons who recently presented a workshop series about this – Stew Henderson and Kathy Cox – are our guests for this TV program.

Stew and Kathy summarize the facts – the best current available science –in a way that anyone will be able to understand, so you might want to invite your friends and relatives who are novices to the climate issue to watch this program in order to understand it.

Another reason why new people might find this TV program useful is that our TV guests will explore why it’s so hard to face this overwhelming issue, and they will help us understand how our painful feelings are actually the doorway to the clarity and freedom we need, going forward.

This approach follows from the work of Joanna Macy, who conducted a substantive workshop about this in Olympia at the end of May 2014. Both of our TV guests participated in that in-depth workshop and will share some insights. During the 1980s when the nuclear arms raced seemed likely to be heading toward a world-destroying nuclear war, Joanna Macy conducted many workshops about “Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age” and wrote a book with that title. Her workshops and book explain that it is natural to feel despair about the overwhelming and looming catastrophe – and also that we can use some tools to help us get through that toward a sense of personal empowerment to take positive action to solve the problems.

Science and psychology are two factors, but the moral and spiritual dimension is relevant too. We can make more progress on the climate issue by listening for the voices of inner wisdom that have been missing in the swirl of political debate.

Moving toward action is a crucial fourth aspect of this TV program. When people feel overwhelmed by a problem and feel despair, they become immobilized. In order to solve the problem, people need to cultivate a sense that we can indeed take useful action, and people need to know some positive ways to proceed. Our TV guests will share information about the groundswell of action that is finally mounting at the local, state, national, and international levels, from the grassroots to the highest corridors of power. We will close with a discussion of how we can all become part of the solution, both as individuals and as a community of conscience.

Our guests are well qualified to help us make progress:

Stew Henderson is a conflict resolution consultant and political activist who has spent 25 years helping organizations and communities tackle “impossible” problems and emerge stronger, clearer, and more resili-ent. He is active with the Climate Reality Project (founded by Al Gore) to help communities all across the globe finally address the climate crisis, and has participated in some of the Olympia FOR’s climate activities.

Kathy Cox is a psychotherapist and spiritual director in Olympia with a special interest in grief and loss. This kind of orientation is significant and helpful for helping people grapple with difficult (and often de-pressing) issues such as the climate crisis.


About GlenAnderson 1513 Articles
Since the late 1960s Glen Anderson has devoted his life to working as a volunteer for peace, nonviolence, social justice, and progressive political issues. He has worked through many existing organizations and started several. Over the years he has worked especially for such wide-ranging goals as making peace with Vietnam, eliminating nuclear weapons, converting from a military economy to a peacetime economy, abolishing the death penalty, promoting nonviolence at all levels throughout society, and helping people organize and strategize for grassroots movements to solve many kinds of problems. He writes, speaks, and conducts training workshops on a wide variety of topics. Since 1987 he has produced and hosted a one-hour cable TV interview program on many kinds of issues. Since 2017 he has blogged at He lives in Lacey near Olympia WA. You can reach him at (360) 491-9093