Staying Strong While Everything Falls Apart: Navigating Grief and Hope About the Environment

Topic: Staying Strong While Everything Falls Apart: Navigating Grief and Hope About the Environment
Date & Time: Tue, September 8 at 6:00PM

COVID has taught us in a hurry – and brought to widely publicized attention – the importance of self-care and psycho-social resilience during a crisis, even while being physically distant from our support networks. Can we distill those lessons and transfer them to other crisis situations, such as arise from climate change and other environmental crises? Can we break the taboo around the mental health challenges for those of us working to improve and save the environment?

What are some of the chronic stresses and shocks associated with sustainability challenges, such as climate change, that demand our attention from a psychological perspective? What emotional experiences and mental health stresses can we expect? Which can we already observe? And to what extent is this growing problem being recognized and addressed? 

What kinds of support will we need? What might that look like? Can we build up our “adaptive mind”, our capacity for psycho-social resilience even as the work gets harder?

Our Sept 8the event will feature three amazingly impressive speakers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who can help make sense of our emotions around these issues and provide us with tools to be more resilient as we do our work to protect and heal the planet—and ourselves. 


Susanne C. Moser is a geographer (Ph.D. 1997, Clark University) and internationally recognized an independent scholar and consultant who works nationally from a base in western Massachusetts. Her work with government agencies, non-profits, foundations, and other researchers and consultants focuses on adaptation to climate change, science-policy interactions, effective climate change communication, and psycho-social resilience in the face of the traumatic and transformative challenges before us. She is a prolific writer, an inspiring speaker and has served on scientific advisory boards for Future Earth, the International Science Council, the US National Research Council and has contributed to the IPCC and US national climate assessments.

Rabiah Nur is an Indigenous healer, activist, storyteller, speaker, ceremonialist and daughter of the Great Mother. Her work in the world is to heal and empower women through connection to nature, to spirit, and to their innate wisdom. She works to facilitate a rebirth of a new and healthy society where women are valued, empowered, whole and are held as the sacred beings that they are. If women are unhealthy, the whole society is unhealthy. 

She recently co-designed an initiative in partnership with the Patuxent Riverkeeper called Honoring Our Sacred Waters, which exists to increase awareness of the spiritual connection between people and water through honoring, ceremony, and education. 

Rabiah has spent the past 30 years hosting leaders and wisdom keepers from Maori, Mayan, Aztec, and Senegalese Indigenous communities to organize cross-cultural and immersive educational gatherings and ceremonies. 

Reverend Fred Small is Executive Director of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light and Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church, Boston. He has been cited by Bill McKbben as “one of the key figures in the religious environmental surge”.

Fred has studied with some of the wisest spiritual leaders of our time, including Thich Nhat Hanh, Eknath Easwaran, Joanna Macy, John Philip Newell, and Tara Brach. In 2018, Fred earned his Certificate in Spiritual Guidance from the Rowe Center. A member of Spiritual Directors international, he leads workshops on spiritual support for climate activism and offers one-on-one spiritual counseling, especially for climate anxiety and ecological grief.

Educated at Yale (BA 1974) and the University of Michigan (JD and MS in Natural Resources 1978), Fred served as staff attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation. In 1980, Fred left CLF to tour internationally as a folksinger and songwriter.

In 1996, Fred entered Harvard Divinity School where he designed the Green Sanctuary program, adopted by the Unitarian Universalist Association and implemented in 250 congregations.

Grist Magazine named Fred one of 25 Green Religious Leaders worldwide.

Main photo credit: Michael Schwarzenberger / CC0 via Wiki Commons