Examining the experiences of politically active youth in Mi'kma'ki with climate grief
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Communities globally experience critical mental and physical health impacts due to the climate crisis. While these impacts may lead to clinical mental illness for some, the overall effects of grief or anxiety relating to the climate crisis are often reasonable responses to the challenges that communities are facing (Cunsolo et al., 2020). To this effect, the term climate grief refers to any psychological distress, cognitive dissonance, anxiety, and emotional turmoil that people/communities experience as a result of the climate crisis and ecological change (Albrecht, 2020; Askland & Bunn, 2018; Cunsolo & Ellis, 2018). Young people are not only going to experience the worst impacts of the climate crisis, but many have dedicated their lives to fighting the climate crisis through protests, strikes, rallies, education, careers, and politics and their constant and close engagement with the climate crisis intensifies their experiences of grief (Fisher, 2016). Furthermore, young people who are marginalized and face oppression due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, colonialism, classism, or xenophobia are more likely to be frontline activists facing environmental violence (Waldron, 2018) and have more complex experiences of climate grief. This research is taking place in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and contemporary lands of the Mi’kmaq (Mi’kma’ki, n.d.). The research population encompasses self-defined politically active youth ages 12-29. The purpose of my research is to engage politically active youth in Mi’kma’ki in reflection on climate grief, to identify connections between political activism and climate grief, and to use arts-based inquiry and intersectional analysis to explore their experiences.