This story was originally published by Fusion and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
One recent weeknight, ten people gathered around a knotty walnut table in a living room in suburban Salt Lake City. Laura Schmidt, a 31-year-old environmental advocate, spoke first. This being the group’s eighth gathering, their discussion centered on seeking beauty and meaning. Schmidt, an athletic woman with a dry sense of humor and shoulder-length brown hair, talked about the importance of exercising the neocortex, the part of the brain that mediates advanced mental functions, in order to access deeper meaning. With the Earth tilting toward climate catastrophe, the capacity to build resiliency through beauty and meaning is critical for preserving the self and planet, Schmidt said. Each member of the group took a few minutes to share. One read a poem by Rilke; another, words by Terry Tempest Williams, the American writer and conservationist. They spoke about their feelings of anxiety and grief, and of finding strength in the natural world. One man told the story of wheeling his terminally ill wife to a hospital room window to watch a final sunset.
Imagi... Read more