A friend posed an interesting question on Facebook earlier today: What if the reason most people don’t take climate action, paradoxically, is that they WANT to be hopeful about the future?

As somebody who’s working actively to promote climate policy solutions I feel this tension everyday battling it out in my own psyche. I feel it when I look at my daughter and, consciously or unconsciously, shut out the idea that climate impacts will shape her future—and not in a good way.

In fact, I’m a firm believer that we all have a little (or big) climate denier living in our own bodies. If we didn’t we’d go mad with fear and anger and anxiety. But I also believe that finding positive ways to confront our own denier demons will help us become more engaged, more positive, and more compelling to those we ask to join us in this work.

That was the gist of a short talk I gave almost a year ago, on “harnessing our dark optimism,” at the Cascadia Climate Collaborative’s first conference for climate movers and shakers at the Whidbey Institute. (And the friend who posted the question today on Facebook happens to be Joe Brewer, a fellow speaker at that same conference.)

  • The point of the Collaborative’s work is to bring climate activists, planners, organizers, and policy and business leaders together for reflection and conversation about the emotional and moral dimensions of the work we do to curb the worst effects of climate change.

    Check out the Collaborative’s video for more info and to see clips of my talk—yes, I do almost cry. (You can also read the transcript of my whole talk here).

    And go to their website for more info on the project and the 2014 conference, coming up in April.

    Here’s the short version:

    And the long version:

    You can also find the Climate Collaborative on Facebook.