Becoming a Motivated Climate Warrior

My experience with climate anxiety has been managed by being creative. I talked about this in my blog post on the Penn State Sustainability site. Through writing that post and reflecting on my writing outlets, I noticed that my climate anxiety is lowest when I write outside. Even when I’m thinking about wicked problems, being outside allows me to reconnect with my purpose and disconnect from the weight of the problems that need to be solved. In short, being outside is motivating and being creative is managing. Put together, I find my personal solution to being hopeful about the future.

a sketch by Ava showing the future as a box filled with trees.
Sketch by Ava Blansfield: If the future is a box, we should fill it with trees, not trash.

To do:

  • Go outside
  • Touch grass
  • Bask in the sun
  • Find motivation
  • Make change

Most of the climate warriors I know act because they love the environment. I’m not saying they love all of the environment, as some people don’t prefer creepy crawlies, animals that fly at them in the dark, or temperatures if they aren’t just right. For me, I am terrified of bugs that fly at me. Despite personal aversions, climate warriors find something to love about the outdoors, about the Earth, about the environment, or about the place they live in. They love that space and the community, and want it to continue to prosper. This is our motivation.

When I was training to become an EcoRep, one of our first icebreaker activities was to share why we wanted to be a part of the organization. Everyone had a story about their connection to nature, the environment, or the climate problem. It was heartwarming to see how such a wide variety of people found themselves wanting to face a big problem for such different reasons (and to not hear anyone say “because it pays”). In that moment, each person shared their passion that fueled their action. I shared that my motivation came from the joy of running in the grass outside as a kid. Last year, I did a final project for my sustainability class about why physical connections to grass are so important to well-being. The culmination of my research led to a poem, the discovery of a very funny figure in the middle of a peer-reviewed academic paper, and an infographic (all shown below). You never know what will spark inspiration and motivation to become a climate warrior — it just might be the grass beneath your feet.

My Poem

The Grass is Electric

Would it shock you
If I told you
The grass was electric

Not enough to
Really shock you,
But enough to
Really fuel you.

Those free electrons
On the tips of the blades
May just be
The savior of the day.

Mr. Shoes and Mr. Barefoot

I found this figure in a peer-reviewed academic paper that uses a funny illustration to show how electrons from the Earth can help neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation at the site of an injury.

An illustration using simple drawings to show how electrons from the Earth can help neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation at the site of an injury.

My Final Project

Click the infographic or scan the QR code with your phone to view the rest of my final project.

Touch the Grass