Why Climate Optimism Matters

Oct 12, 2022

Did you know the oil and gas industry has been spending very big bucks for decades to convince people like you and me there is no chance to avert the climate crisis?

I discovered this reading Dr. Britt Wray newsletter… 

“The US congressional investigation into climate disinformation exposed some dirty emails between employees of ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell, and their lobbyists” revealed how “the fossil fuel industry and its allies use both traditional and social media to seed narratives of cynicism, hopelessness, and doomism

In addition to manufacturing uncertainty about whether climate change was real, human-caused, and serious, ExxonMobil spent decades on an expensive advertising editorial campaign to raise doubt about whether climate change was solvable, warning of drastic economic and societal pain if governments took action on climate.”

Which is beyond horrifying BUT also telling: if seed narrative aka story-telling has enabled the fossil fuel industry to continue to kill us, could story-telling help save us?

Tell your world we do have solutions! Tell your world we can prevent more suffering.

You certainly don’t have to be a writer. You can share a story of optimism or good news anywhere – church, hanging out with friends, social media, your book group, or Sunday dinner with your family. 

Need help telling stories? The Climate Stories project is one place to start. 350.org has pointers. As does My Climate Story.

Break the cynical doom cycle the oil and gas industry wants us to bury us in and instead flood your world with stories of solutions and ideas to take action!

By the way, Yale Climate Communications has a great guide to getting into climate action depending on what interests you. Or check out Yes Magazine’s guide to taking action. Or Climate Changemakers.

For those of you in the U.S, the midterms are the most important election of our lifetimes. In addition to voting and begging people around you to vote, write letters for Vote Forward (send date October 29th so hurry – I’m up to 100), give money to candidates you support, and consider volunteering for 350.org Climate Vote project ASAP.


It can be so painful to keep speaking up and not seeing change happen fast enough or you may feel overwhelmed by despair and anxiety. If so you might find it useful to visit Climate Awakening. The organization allows you to schedule zoom conversations with a small group to talk about your climate emotions using on-screen prompts. 

FYI: working with others on the climate emergency has been shown to greatly reduce anxiety and depression as does taking action of any kind.


Did you know “US ratified its first international climate treaty in decades: the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which is designed to phase down HFCs. HFCs are a potent greenhouse gas released from refrigeration and air conditioning. The Kigali Amendment requires countries to reduce their use of HFCs by 85% over 15 years. This is significant because it has the potential to stave off 0.5ºC of warming.” From Outrage + Optimism.

And that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is getting cleaned up.  

You migh get inspired by reading Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors 12 short stories by writers from across the globe “discovering intersectional worlds of generational healing and community-based solutions. Read here.”

Can you imagine how much progress we could make if we all took 20 minutes of climate action a day?

Thank you for being part of the solution.

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