Megan Hall: Welcome to Possibly, where we take on huge problems like the future of our planet and break them down into small questions with unexpected answers. I’m Megan Hall.

Last week, I introduced you to Kate Schapira, a writer who’s been listening to people’s climate anxieties since 2014. She sets up a booth in public places that says “climate anxiety counseling, five cents.”  

In this second part of our conversation, she’s going to help me talk about my own climate fears. Here’s where we left off-

Megan Hall: Would you walk me through a climate anxiety session? 

Kate Schapira: You bet. 

Megan Hall: Okay…..

Kate Schapira: So I’m listening to people about climate change and their worries about it. Is that something that you worry about? 

Megan Hall: Yes. 

Kate Schapira: What do you worry about?

Megan Hall: I worry that all of the extreme weather is just going to accelerate to the point where we can’t really survive in this environment. 

And I think about how much my kids have gone through with the pandemic. And there’s this promise to them that soon things will be better. And soon things will be back to normal. But that feels like a lie sometimes, because I know what climate change has in store.

Kate Schapira: And as a parent, part of what we promised kids is that we will make them a safe world. And you’re feeling like you cannot keep that promise.

Megan Hall: No, I cannot keep that promise. But that’s a hard thing to tell a five-year-old.

Kate Schapira: What can you tell your five-year-old? That’s true, but also loving?

Megan Hall: I mean, I think that in some ways, it parallels the discussions we have about race and racism. We have to be honest that these things exist, and that they need to be brave and stand up for what is right.

Kate Schapira: And do you feel like, you know what that is, in this case, in the case of climate change?

Megan Hall: No, I mean, despite the fact that I probably know more about climate change than the average person because of the show, knowing more is almost worse. 

Kate says type of thinking reminds her of a question she gets a lot at her booth. People often ask- are we doomed? 

Kate Schapira: People are also asking, Does my life as I know it have to end? It doesn’t hurt anybody to entertain that the answer is yes. 

Megan Hall: just hearing you say that, I get a sense of relief. Our lives will be dramatically different. And perhaps accepting that is, is going to get me to the next step of really doing something about it that’s motivated more in pragmatism than in fear.

Kate Schapira: Absolutely, yeah, 

Kate Schapira: So how are you feeling now?

Megan: I think I’m feeling a little better. 

Megan: What’s your advice out there to people who are listening to this. They can’t all come to your booth.

Kate Schapira: the process that you and I just went through is a process that you can go through with family, with friends. Notice what you are feeling. Pay attention to what makes you feel weak and what makes you feel strong, and then start learning about what in your community might be possible as a way to respond to this.

Megan Hall: Kate Schapira, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me.

Kate Schapira: Thank you so much, Megan. It’s been wonderful to talk. And to listen.

Kate Schapira is a writer and a poet who teaches non-fiction at Brown University. Her upcoming book, Next Morning on Earth, documents what she’s learned from her conversations about climate anxiety.

You can sign up for Kate’s newsletter and try some climate anxiety exercises at

Possibly is a co-production of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society and the Public’s Radio.

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