The Purpose of the Group
The Climate Grief Group of NWI is for those living with an awareness of loss due to climate change and the collapse of our environmental and social systems to create a safe space to share and witness our complex feelings—feelings like grief, despair, fear, and guilt—which are increasingly common in these times, but which are often unwelcome in mainstream activist spaces.
“There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.”— Adrienne Rich
Is This Group for Me?
Do you feel heartache, anxious, overwhelmed, or paralyzed by the climate crisis? Do you sometimes feel burnt out or worn thin? Do you feel pressure to stay positive or to stay active? Do you feel guilt about not having done enough? Do you need a space to process your feelings without judgment or a rush to answers or action? … Then this group is for you.
This is not the group for you if want to tell anyone else what they need to think or do. This is not the group for you if want someone else to tell you what to think or do.
If you are interested in participating in a group, please review the group agreements below. The group is open to the public, but because we want to create a safe space for discussion, the group moderator will ask you to answer the following questions before you join:
- What interests you about the group?
- What experience, if any, do you have with environmental activism. (None is required.)
- Do you understand that the purpose of this group is to create a safe space for people to share complex feelings about the climate crisis and environmental and social collapse and not a space to suggest (or argue about) solutions?
The Climate Grief Group of NWI was founded in Northwest Indiana. During this time of responsible social distancing, we are holding online meetings, which are open to those living outside the Northwest Indiana region.
Northwest Indiana sits on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world and is also one of the most ecologically diverse places in the United States. The Indiana Dunes National Park is home to ten different habitats: water, dune, swale, river, swamp, marsh, bog/fen, savanna, forest, and prairie; and the myriad fauna and flora that live in those habitats.
Northwest Indiana is also one of the most highly industrialized parts of the United States making it a front line community in the climate movement. The lakeshore is home to coal-fired power plant, two steel mills, and the largest tar sands refinery in the country, BP Whiting. One town in the region, East Chicago, is zoned 80% industrial and has been called the most industrialized city in the country. Cities like East Chicago are sacrifice zones which suffer from the worst effects environmental racism.
The Format of the Group
Explain the purpose of the group.
Outline the format of the group.
Review the group agreements. (See below.)
Share how we’ve been doing since the last group.
5. Food for Thought
Share a reading or video to prompt discussion.
Take turns sharing feelings in response to discussion prompt.
Recommend a reading or practice before the next group.
Share suggestions for improving the group.
End with an expression of gratitude.
Participants must agree to the following:
1. Take turns talking.
No interrupting or talking over others. Raise hands before speaking. Take deliberate pauses between each person’s turn to breathe and center ourselves.
2. When responding to others …
speak from a place that is calm, curious, and compassionate.
3. Respect the moderator’s efforts to maintain order.
Wait your turn or raise your hand to be called on. Stop speaking if the moderator asks you to pause.
4. If you experience a strong offense …
say “ouch!” and we will pause to address it together.
5. Appreciate the difference between intent and impact.
Know that an innocent intent does not excuse a harmful impact. Do not assume that a harmful impact means an intent to harm.
6. Speak from your personal experience.
Use “I” statements. Don’t prescribe behavior for others. Be witness for each other. Don’t try to “fix” anyone.
7. No solutions talk.
The group is a solutions-free zone, a place where we can talk about our feelings without a rush to action. This can be hard for many activists.
8. Step Up-Step Back.
If you tend to speak easily or often, step back. If you tend to remain quiet, step up.
9. Maintain privacy.
The identity of the participants and the substance of the conversation is confidential.
No sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, or body-shaming language.
During this time of responsible social distancing, we are only holding virtual meetings online.
In-person meetings are for those living in Northwest Indiana. Online meetings are open to to everyone regardless of where you live.
You can find the date/time and location of our next meeting on our public Facebook page.
Our private Facebook group is open to those who have attended at least one meeting.
National Suicide Hotline
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255.