Kate asked the question last week “How do you stay sane” (while fighting the misinformation campaigns and worrying about our prospects for averting dangerous climate change). Kate’s post reminded me of a post I did last year on climate trauma, and specifically the essay by Gillian Caldwell, in which she compares the emotional burnout that many of us feel when dealing with climate change with other types of psychological trauma. I originally read this at a time when I was overdoing it, working late into the evenings, going to bed exhausted, and then finding myself unable to sleep because my head was buzzing with everything I’d just been working on. Gillian’s essay struck a chord.

I took on board many of the climate trauma survival tips, and in particular, I started avoiding climate related work in the evenings. My blogging rate went down and I started sleeping and exercising properly again. But good habits can be hard to maintain, and I realise in the last few months I was overdoing it again. As it was March break last week, we took a snap decision to take some time off, and took the kids skiing in Quebec. We even managed to fit in trips to Ottawa and Montreal en route, as the kids hadn’t been to either city.

The trip was great, but wasn’t 100% effective as a complete break. I was reminded of climate change throughout: I didn’t need a coat in Ottawa (in March!!) and we picnicked outdoors in Montreal (in March!!). There’s no snow left in the Laurentides (except on the ski slopes); and we found ourselves skiing in hot sunshine (which meant by mid-afternoon the slopes were covered in piles of wet slush). The ski operators told us they normally stay open through mid-April, but that looks extremely unlikely this year. And sure enough, I return to the news that Canada has experienced the warmest winter ever recorded, and we’re on course for the hottest year ever. It can’t be good news for the ski industry.

And it’s not good news for me  because I’m now back to blogging late into the evening again…


  1. Adrian Schroeter

    Always remember, if you burn out, you can’t help the world effectively anymore.

  2. but never mind, the UK just has the coldest winter for thirty years 🙂 Not that I think that has any predictive power for future climate, I’m in the worrying sleepless camp too …

    [Yeah, I thought about that when I was posting. Extrapolation from a single data point, and all that. The thing is that all such unusual weather patterns cause those of us with over-active brains to do more thinking about the underlying processes, even if we’re trying not to think about it when on vacation. Nature keeps throwing data at us – Steve]

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