How can we… parent for a changing climate? With Elizabeth Bechard

In this episode with Elizabeth Bechard, we explore the challenges of parenting in a changing climate, as well as what framing climate as moral injury has to offer us as we navigate these times.

Elizabeth is Senior Policy Analyst for Moms Clean Air Force. She is also a health coach, author, former clinical research coordinator, and a public health graduate student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

After becoming a mother, Elizabeth became passionate about the intersection between climate change and family resilience. She is the author of Parenting in a Changing Climate: Tools for Cultivating Resilience, Taking Action, and Practicing Hope in the Face of Climate Change. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband and young twins.

Learn more about Laura Hartley & Public LovED:
Web: www.laurahartley.com
Insta: @laura.h.hartley
Facebook: @laurahartley-publiclove
LinkedIn: @laura-hartley-

Learn more about Elizabeth Bechard:
Website: www.elizabethbechard.com
Insta: @elizabethbechard
Moms Clean Air Force: www.momscleanairforce.org

Check out this episode!

TRANSCRIPT: Please note transcript was generated by AI and has not been edited. It may contain mistakes or omissions.

[00:00:00] Elizabeth Bechard: And in that paper, they made the case that, you know, young people are watching governments fail to act on the climate crisis. And that, that is a form of moral injury, which I completely agree with.

[00:00:12] Laura Hartley: I’m Laura Hartley and welcome to the Public Love Project. This podcast is all about re-imagining and remaking the world, creating the conditions for social healing and collective thriving. Each week, we dive into topics around resilience, social change, birthing, and more just, and regenerative world and how we can use our head heart and hands in action. Before i introduce today’s guest and topic though i have one request head on over to apple podcasts or spotify wherever you’re listening and hit subscribe rate and review it helps us work to reach new listeners

[00:00:52] Today’s guest is Elizabeth Bechard.

[00:00:55] Elizabeth is a senior policy analyst for mom’s clean air force. She is a health coach, author, former clinical research coordinator, and a public health graduate student at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. After becoming a mother, Elizabeth became passionate about the intersection between climate change and family resilience.

[00:01:13] She is the author of parenting in a changing climate tools for cultivating resilience, taking action and practicing hope in the face of climate. She lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband and young twins. So welcome Elizabeth to the

[00:01:26] Elizabeth Bechard: public love project. Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here with you

[00:01:31] Laura Hartley: today.

[00:01:33] Ah, me too, because I love your work. And one of the things that I actually thought to start the conversation today is this phrase that you use, which is that you are a recovering activist. Can you tell us a little bit about what this

[00:01:46] Elizabeth Bechard: means? Ooh, what an interesting question we’ll start with. I can tell you what it means for me.

[00:01:54] I think You know, I first identified with the word activist pretty young, like as a teenager, I was, I remember being in high school and maybe even a little bit younger than that early high school. And someone handed me like a brochure for pita like the, that people for the ethical treatment of animals.

[00:02:15] And I became a vegetarian overnight. I just stopped eating meat and animal products and Anybody who’s familiar with PETA probably knows that they are pretty graphic in their depiction of animal rights abuses. And there’s absolutely the absolutely a place for that. I got very into animal rights activism in my teens and early twenties.

[00:02:38] And didn’t have. Our community of activists around me. I didn’t have a whole lot of support. You know, I had a few people in my life who were, who became vegetarian, but not very many, you know, like I could count them on my one, one hand. right. So I was kind of, I immersed myself in learning a lot about animal, right.

[00:02:59] And how that was connected to all kinds of different harms, social harms, environmental harms, and You know, I, anybody who’s familiar with like how , how dark that can get can probably understand that I was immersing myself in a lot of just really horrifying, depressing, scary [00:03:20] information without the skills, without the resilience, without the community, to help me process that.

[00:03:26] And. In my, in my late later teens and, and twenties, you know, I was definitely struggling with depressions and some other mental health challenges due to things that were not related, you know, to, to animal rights. But there was kind of for me, this intersection of, you know, overwhelming concern about this.

[00:03:46] This problem and, and feeling intersection, you know, with that and, and all of the other sort of mental health struggles that, you know, many teens would be dealing with for other reasons. And I remember at the time feeling the, the thing that was most painful to me about activism at that time was the feeling that people didn’t care about it, you know, that I was sort of walking through my life and I, it was so obvious to me that there.

[00:04:12] Huge problems with, you know, the way that, you know, our culture you know, processes food and, you know, thinks about food. But, but nobody else in my life and nobody is of exaggeration, but most people in my life did not seem to, to care or be concerned about this. And I just didn’t understand that.

[00:04:30] Right. It kind of it didn’t make sense to me. And I remember getting In my early twenties to a place where I was quite honestly, suicidally depressed. Like I just didn’t want to exist in a world that was like this. Like it was, I was too sensitive for that. And I feel really lucky that I had like family support to help me pull myself with a lot of support and therapy and to pull myself out of that sort of dark hole of like, I don’t wanna be here if the world is gonna be like this hole.

[00:05:00] I had to sort of turn my back on activism for about 10 years, at least after that point, because I just couldn’t expose myself to the kind of information that I had been taking in before, because I, I was so sensitive and didn’t have the inner resilience and, or the support structures around me to be able to cope with that in healthy ways.

[00:05:21] Laura Hartley: I was going to say, I can see how this has led to the work that you do now. This overwhelming concern we have and this inability sometimes, you know, why isn’t the world doing anything? Why aren’t people stepping up, you see this in the climate movement now a lot.

[00:05:37] Absolutely. Yeah. And having these tools and these resources and these skills to actually. Stay and process and be with long haul work and to be with the emotions of this work. I think is really what you do in a way.

[00:05:52] Elizabeth Bechard: Yeah. I, I can identify so deeply with the sort of disillusionment of youth climate activists that you hear about, you know, you know, I am no Greta Thunburg by any stretch of the imagination, but I deeply relate to the story that I’ve heard her tell of like, Going into this very dark hole related to understanding some environmental problems and then watching the, the people in power in the world, or even the people in your own life kind of go about their, their lives as though nothing’s wrong.

[00:06:24] You know, that sense of how can this be? Right? Like how can even the people that I care about, not care about this, how can they not act is very. It’s very hard. And I think especially for young people, because it does take time and self awareness and, and life [00:06:40] experience to sort of build that resilience and those skills to have perspective, you know, now I can, I can sort of track my, my thoughts when they go to dark places and have like a level of mindful awareness about them that I didn’t have when I was 16 or 22.

[00:06:55] And I think building those skills of like you were saying of being with really hard emotions and really painful and difficult truths is so critical to sustainable act activism because you know, those of us who go to dark places and don’t come back, can’t continue to, to serve the world and to show up in ways that are life giving and, and generative.

[00:07:16] And I feel really lucky honestly, to have survived, you know, that period of my life, you know, but I think cultivating resilience however people think about that word is so critical to keeping climate activism and environmental activism going for the long haul.

[00:07:33] Laura Hartley: And this is an interesting question. What would you say resilience is? Because, you know, when we are looking at climate change now and, , the impacts of climate change, both the physical impacts of actually what we’re seeing and the changes that are happening in the world. Now today with heat waves across Europe, with, you know, endless rain and la nina events through Australia and in many, many other parts of the world as.

[00:07:58] Being conscious of where I’m naming, but also just in the future of fears, you know, the fears for our children in the next generation, it’s starting to impact our mental health.

[00:08:07] Elizabeth Bechard: Absolutely. And I think the word resilience is a tricky one because it can, it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people.

[00:08:14] It can be used in a lot of different contexts. I think the, the older way of thinking about resilience is that it’s just about sort of bouncing back to normal, right? Like getting back to baseline or snapping back like a rubber band. And and I don’t like that conceptualization of resilience. I think my favorite definition of resilience I’ve ever seen was actually in one of

[00:08:35] the recent IPCC reports. I believe it was the one that came out in February, although I could be wrong about that. And it, there was a line in there that described resilience as the capacity for transformation. And that felt, I love that oh

[00:08:49] Laura Hartley: my God. How have I not. Seen that I love that description.

[00:08:52] Elizabeth Bechard: It is hidden.

[00:08:53] It was like this little tucked away line, but yeah, I mean, that’s, I think that captures how I think about resilience. It’s not about getting back to a baseline or a normal it’s about, do we have the capacity to become something new, to become something, you know, more alive, more real, more authentic, more whole that’s what, that’s how I think about it.

[00:09:15] Now.

[00:09:16] Laura Hartley: Yeah. And I can see that, you know, on a personal level and also on a collective level as well, which I think a lot of climate action is really balancing these two areas of the individual and their collective

[00:09:27] Elizabeth Bechard: mm-hmm . Yeah, it is. I think Being fairly new to full-time climate activism. And within the past year, I’ve become full-time in my climate work.

[00:09:38] And I, I think there’s it can be easy within the climate movement to sort of just get, get so obsessed with the outer work, rather that there’s not enough time or space for the inner work. But I think and I know your work speaks to this too.

[00:09:53] The more that we can sort of realize that, you know, the energy that we put out into the world reflects the quality of our, [00:10:00] of our inner experience too. The more will prioritize. Mm-hmm , you know, doing our our inner healing, which there’s so many layers to that, and it’s not ever complete, but I think it’s really important.

[00:10:14] Mm-hmm

[00:10:15] Laura Hartley: so, you work for a mom’s clean air force, your book, which I loved was parenting in a changing climate. And you know, this is such a topical area right now. There’s, there’s one, there’s a lot of people who increasingly are afraid of having children afraid of what the future would look like if they have that.

[00:10:33] For those friends with young children who increasingly are concerned about what the quality of their children’s lives will be. Where is this intersection here with family resilience and what does it mean and what are we looking at?

[00:10:45] Elizabeth Bechard: That’s a great question. I, I think there’s probably not just one meaning of it.

[00:10:50] It probably means lots of different things to different people, but, , I think there’s a space for honoring what you know is being called in the academic literature or at least eco reproductive concerns. So like the very real and valid worries that people are having more and more people are having about, like, what does it really mean to bring a child into this world for, for so many reasons, not just climate, but, you know, racism is the reason, you know, just to have that question or, fear of political instability or there’s many reasons that people might sort of question bringing a child into the world.

[00:11:25] I think there’s room to, to make space for the authenticity of those experiences, but also to embrace that, that some of us are going to want to bring life into the world for, for many different reasons as well. And to be able to celebrate and support people who choose to become parents and to see how can we find ways to.

[00:11:46] Create a future that’s as good as possible for these children and, and for every generation that might follow, even, even if we don’t know what might happen, you know, 50 years from now, a hundred years from now, we can’t, we can’t know. And you know, that uncertainty can be really frightening. But I know as a, as a mother myself, and I see this in my colleagues at mom’s clean air force too, for me becoming a mom has.

[00:12:09] Has deepened my investment in the future in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. Which is not to say that parents are more concerned about climate change than others. I think, you know, that’s I wouldn’t make that statement necessarily, but I would say that, you know, when you have a child, there’s this like stake in the future in a really concrete way, right?

[00:12:29] It’s it’s your children who will be living, you know, in the future that we create. And so I know that I feel just fiercely determined to, to show up for them and to try to figure out like, how can we reshape the world, right? Like how can we create a world that doesn’t repeat all of the mistakes of the past, that we’re wrestling with.

[00:12:50] So painfully right now and I really see that dedication in my, in my colleagues as well. I think. Even, even in moments when, when things seem really dark on the climate front, and there have been a lot of those moments recently, you know, the parents I know who are engaged in the climate movement are, are not gonna give up on our kids.

[00:13:11] We’re just not, we’re gonna keep going and and fight for the future that children. Our children, and all children deserve

[00:13:19] Laura Hartley: [00:13:20] yeah. and the future that we deserve as well.

[00:13:22] Elizabeth Bechard: You know, everyone, everyone deserves. Yeah, absolutely. And this

[00:13:25] Laura Hartley: reminds me that, yeah, there was a line I loved in your book.

[00:13:28] That was, that was quite interesting. That was, and while many communities have faced existential threats for generations, black indigenous Jewish and queer communities, for starters, many people of European descent have little in the way of inherited resilience in the face of the level of trauma presented by climate change.

[00:13:46] People like me will need to learn how to hold and integrate this path. You and I are obviously both of European descent. We both have a fairly large degree of privilege. We’re both living in Western nations. And so looking at. We’re not the first culture, the first community to actually face the end of our way of life or an existential threat.

[00:14:05] Right. But we are having to learn to teach this resilience, to hold it, down to our children as well.

[00:14:10] Elizabeth Bechard: Mm-hmm yeah. And it’s, it feels very awkward. I think, you know, that’s, I think that’s the word that, that, that describes the lived experience I’ve had, you know, I think not having. Stories of having survived things like slavery or genocide in my own family.

[00:14:28] Like I have to, to figure out like, what does it, what does it mean for me to be resilient without appropriating from someone else’s culture? I know I, I can think of several friends who are and also meaningfully engaged in, in climate thought and work who we’ve talked about, like, what does it mean as someone of European descent to sort of learn from the resilience of our ancestral traditions as people who are not in Europe.

[00:14:51] Right. And really are very, you know, in America and maybe Australia too, very, quite disconnected from, you know, say Celtic traditions, right. That, that got lost

[00:15:01] Laura Hartley: long time ago, long, many, many

[00:15:03] Elizabeth Bechard: generations. Right. And having to, to relearn, or even thinking about re like how do I relearn the wheel of the year, right.

[00:15:11] Or, or these things that that I do believe would help with resilience because they help with nature connection. It feels very clumsy. I’ve got this whole book on shelf of like wheel of the year books, you know how to do this. And it’s Yeah, it feels awkward. Clumsy, fumbling tender too, to be trying to learn ways of being that I wasn’t taught growing up from a book rather than a grandmother or, you know, you know, someone who’s an elder I don’t think that’s the whole answer to resilience, but it’s definitely, I think one of the ways that, that some people are trying to figure out, like how do we draw on our own ancestral traditions when we don’t have that experience?

[00:15:51] Even if it means Googling, like how do I celebrate Lamas? Right. Which is coming, what is an appropriate way to to do this one with your family? You know, it’s very, it’s funny, right? you have to laugh.

[00:16:05] Laura Hartley: It is, you know, I think this is part of healing from whiteness in a way like that, that healing and, and that reconnecting to actually, what are our ancestral roots as white people, like before, Appropriating all of the other cultures, where did our roots actually lie?

[00:16:21] And a lot of the, same mentality and same beliefs are really what I think has led to the climate crisis. Like it’s very, very difficult to separate the climate crisis and what we’re seeing today from its roots in capitalism for its roots in patriarchy, it’s roots in colonialism. So this going back to, [00:16:40] what is ours?

[00:16:40] What is ours to do? What is, what is the history of our lineage I think is so important,

[00:16:45] Elizabeth Bechard: right? Yeah. It, it’s amazing that we do at least have access through technology to information that might have been even more hard to access a generation ago, right before the internet, , you can learn almost anything, or about almost any topic through through Google.

[00:17:03] But I, I completely agree that it, that it is part of healing from whiteness. And, and so many of these ancestral traditions, maybe all of them were much more sustainable ways of being right. Like, you know, their, their nature base, they’re connected with seasons and cycles and, celebrating you know, what fruit or flowers or, or vegetables, or in season in a particular time, rather than, the culture we have now, which is that you can go to the grocery store and.

[00:17:33] Anything you want all year round and you just expect that, right?

[00:17:37] Laura Hartley: We expect start the world to always be that way. Yeah. That you can get whatever you want. Yes. Whenever you want it at any time, as quickly as possible, you know, this endless consumption, endless growth, to be satiated just means that I have unlimited opportunities.

[00:17:55] And so it is, it’s a balance. Isn’t it? Of coming back to actually no unlimited opportunities and nature is abundant. The natural world is abundant, but there is a time for things there’s a season and there’s a cycle.

[00:18:09] Elizabeth Bechard: Right.

[00:18:11] Laura Hartley: I wanna talk for a moment about this idea. Cause we had a really good conversation a month ago about this idea of climate as moral injury.

[00:18:19] What does this mean to you? What is moral injury? How would you explain this?

[00:18:24] Elizabeth Bechard: I first heard about the idea of moral injury in the context of, of climate change from Britt Wray who does he’s, she’s an author as well. She wrote generation dread and has written a lot about mental health and the climate crisis.

[00:18:37] But there was a paper that she was an author on that was published last fall, published in the Lancet. And it was this study of 10,000 young people around the world asking about their experiences of, of climate change and mental health. And the study showed just overwhelming levels of climate distress among young people.

[00:18:59] And, one of the main or the most interesting, I thought findings of that paper was the description of young people experiencing moral injury. And they described it as this idea of it’s psychological harm from, from witnessing or taking part in something that violates your, your moral or your ethical or spiritual beliefs or, or even

[00:19:23] sense of betrayal by some trusted authority. And in that paper, they made the case that, you know, young people are watching governments fail to act on the climate crisis. And that, that is a form of moral injury, which I completely agree with. And I’ve been working on a, a thesis project and for my master’s degree on on parents and climate change and mental health and It’s it’s become apparent to me from that and my own experience.

[00:19:54] I think parents experience this too, and maybe all of us, right? Like, I, I think we need more [00:20:00] research to understand this, but you know, when I think about parents specifically, we’re also watching our governments fail to act and fail to protect our kids. Right. You know, when it comes to climate change, especially those of us who are climate aware and really have a sense of kind of where we are with this crisis and, and what it means.

[00:20:19] To not act now, right. While there’s still time to avert, a lot of the, , impacts that we could see, will see in the future. But, but parents also have this moral obligation, I believe, and I think most parents would believe, to protect and care for our kids and climate change directly interferes with that and is going to interfere with, with that more and more. The feeling that you can’t protect your kid from a terrifying future is a, is a devastating feeling, right.

[00:20:52] Or just one example of how parents might experience moral injury, , is the, the climate conversation, right. I’m hearing it being called the climate talk now. Right. This used to be the sex talk, which I guess we still need to have, but the climate talk now of like, Presenting to your children information about what this means, on the one hand, you know, as a parent, you feel the need to prepare your child for the future that they’re going to have, right.

[00:21:24] You have to on some level, prepare them for the future. But on the other hand, you also. I feel this, this strong desire not to cause harm emotional harm or trauma to your children, by giving them terrifying information, which, , you can deliver it in different ways, but it’s a real, it’s a really excruciating bind for parents.

[00:21:46] It’s like, how do we, how do we tell the truth about climate change to our kids in a trauma sensitive way? And how do we tell them the truth? While knowing that we’re still using fossil fuels to get to drive to school. Every toy they have is, comes in plastic. You know, we’ve been ordering our groceries online because of COVID.

[00:22:05] So we don’t go into the store. And then, you can’t use your reusable bags because there, so there’s so many ways that, all of us are just kind of embedded in the system that we don’t, that is causing the harm. And there’s almost no way to extract yourself. So as a parent, you’re like, , how do I tell my child.

[00:22:23] And also acknowledge we’re still participating in this with really no viable way out for most families. And, and so I think those are some of the ways that I see moral injury playing out for parents. And I think the reason that, that the idea of moral injury is important to me or that I, I think it’s a useful framework, even if, maybe not every parent has the, has a lived experience of feeling injured in a moral way, is that, to me, the way that you frame an issue informs how you think about.

[00:22:53] How you address that issue, right? Like the way you frame a problem affects how you think about the solution. And when you look at the literature on moral injury, there’s not a whole lot of evidence based interventions, but you’ll see frequently recommendations for spiritual care. And I think that’s.

[00:23:10] An incredibly important idea that parents need spiritual care youth need spiritual care. Everybody needs it. And I ,don’t hear a whole lot of [00:23:20] discussion about that in the climate space yet.

[00:23:23] Laura Hartley: I love the way you kind of directed that because my question, when we’re holding this idea of what, like moral injury is, where is repair, where does healing actually occur from something like that and that idea of spiritual practices or of a spiritual kind of healing, I think is probably the direction in which, it’s kind of leading.

[00:23:43] Can you tell us a little bit more about that, about what are the, what are the practices and the tools that we need as parents to actually be holding . This pain and having these conversations and maybe a little bit about your thoughts of this, as a world, as a collective, where does repair for moral injury actually lie?

[00:24:00] Elizabeth Bechard: Yeah, it’s a great question. And I don’t feel like I’m an expert on the solution. So I think, There’s ideas and there’s anecdotal evidence. There’s not a lot of academic evidence about what will work or not work. And I don’t believe that that’s the only, or even the best form of knowledge about these things.

[00:24:16] But, one aspect of this of repair that I think is really important is having community spaces or relational spaces where people can come together to express their emotions, to name things like grief or fear, that we might not talk about very openly in a lot of spaces to do that with others and really in community and, and in relationship wrestle with these existential questions.

[00:24:48] For me at the core climate change, my fear of climate change is really about my fear of death. Right? That’s a spiritual question. , what happens after we die and I don’t have the answers, but throughout human history, I imagine that people have coped with that.

[00:25:02] What do we do after? What does this even mean? Right? Why are we even here by coming together and, and talking and, and being, and, after someone dies, having ritual and ceremony, when someone is born ritual and ceremony and, and a lot of that is missing from our culture, but it’s , these deeper questions, I, I don’t believe they’re meant.

[00:25:21] To be wrestled with alone, with our laptops or our cell phones right. We need, we need each other. And I, I think that’s maybe the biggest thing is that spaces where people can, can be with others, even if it’s over zoom, because that’s the reality for many of us right now.

[00:25:39] Even better, right? Like in person could be together and, and sort of name that we are wrestling with these existential crises and through relationship to find, a sense of, of not being alone. Some of the literature that I found in my thesis project named especially for people of colour that, a sense of ancestral connection can be part of.

[00:26:02] That healing. And we were talking about that earlier is like having to learn how to find that for many of us having a sense of deep time perspective. So which again is something you can wrestle with in community, but remembering, that our, our existence in The present moment. It’s just like this tiny little fraction of of all existence.

[00:26:25] You’ll probably laugh at this, but I actually have, a few fossils on my desk to remind me of my place in time. Where is that? I find it very helpful. Its just, I got my little you know, my little, one of my little fossils right here. Fossils may not work for [00:26:40] everybody, but it helps me.

[00:26:41] But , being with each other to find perspective, to grieve together, to think about, the meaning of life, I think that’s a big part of the solution and there’s not a whole lot of spaces for that?

[00:26:54] Laura Hartley: No, I think that when you go back 50, a hundred years ago, spaces that did provide this, at least in some context, you know, rightly or wrongly were of course more religious spaces.

[00:27:05] Yes. And as we see increasing secularization, we see increasing lack of spaces to talk about the deeper issues of life, what it means to be in community, what it means to be human, what it means to live, to die, to, to grieve, to love and all of these, these experiences. And of course, the experiences that we are only just starting to name, I think there’s a new range of climate emotions and new range of feelings that we’re starting to experience and that there are now names for

[00:27:36] Elizabeth Bechard: right.

[00:27:37] Yeah. I mean, one of the ones that is often referred to as so solastalgia, right? The, sort of the idea of losing a beloved place or a sense of being homesick while you’re still at home. And I did want to name too, that there, some of the spaces that, that have emerged for people to wrestle with these, or are spaces like climate cafes, which are intentional spaces where people can.

[00:28:01] Can come in and reflect about their thoughts and feelings about a climate crisis, but many people don’t have access to them, right. Unless, unless you have happened to find them over zoom or happen to live in an area where people are doing that. And the good grief network also is a framework sort of a 10 step framework where people can process these feelings intentionally.

[00:28:21] But, but you’re right. There’s this whole new vocabulary emerging to describe, what are these experiences? And I imagine that vocabulary will, will grow. I’d almost like to see a whole vocabulary around parenthood or what, that question of like, what does it mean to be a parent like in a changing climate?

[00:28:40] Because I think We’re gonna be experiencing some new, some new things that, that, you know, maybe that maybe we haven’t, as a species before and, and language helps us to, it helps us with meaning making,

[00:28:55] Laura Hartley: Helps us with meaning making. I think that’s, that’s exactly where it is there that it helps us communicate and also helps us feel less alone.

[00:29:02] Cuz we can share what we’re experiencing. Exactly. I have a couple of last questions for you. And, one is for those listening, when we’re looking at tools of practicing and resilience in the face of climate change, we’re looking at practicing hope. What is it, what is the practice or what is a recommendation that you think that, or feel that we can come back to.

[00:29:27] Elizabeth Bechard: I would say community, right? Like, the number one thing I, I recommend to everybody is to find some kind of climate community and it could look very different, for some people, it might be an activist community for others. It might be a space like a climate cafe or the good grief network.

[00:29:45] It might even be a friend that, that you find to go for a walk with, you know, once a month or to, to who, who actually has the ability to hear you talk about your climate distress. Right. And not everybody can do that. Those friends aren’t as easy to find as probably many of us wish [00:30:00] they were, but.

[00:30:02] Being in relationship is a practice. And I would say, in a very practical resilience, I, I think people should be bringing each other more loaves of banana bread or, or, sh you know, sharing food, right? Like that, that very simple act of like, I will share my resources with you.

[00:30:23] Builds relationship. It builds connection. And when natural disasters, extreme weather hits, now those local relationships, the people that you’re sharing banana bread with are, are gonna be there when the power goes out or when a storm comes through or when there’s a wire. Your wildfire and , that kind of relationship building doesn’t necessarily require talking about climate change.

[00:30:45] Ideally you’d have both kinds of relationship, but you could still build relational resilience and have a sense of, of community support, even if your neighbour hasn’t ever, given any indication that they’re, you know, willing to talk about climate change. So I would say just.

[00:31:01] Community is a practice. It’s a skill too. Like many of us have been so isolated over the last few years with COVID that, , maybe we’ve forgotten about, bringing, sharing things with our neighbour. Some people are really good at it, but , building mutual aid networks is, is sort of part of that.

[00:31:18] That practice, whether they’re formal or informal, but we, we need each other, like we can’t do this alone. So any practice that is isolated from, from other people, I think will just ultimately be. Insufficient, , I’m sure I’m sure there’s individual practices, , somatic body practices that can help us cope with individuals, but ultimately we need each other to get through this on on both a very practical level, but also for our spiritual care.

[00:31:47] And so that’s the, that’s the number one thing I would recommend. But these are

[00:31:51] Laura Hartley: collective crisis that we face, you know, so. I think they require a collective response in collective healing. And you know, this podcast. All about remaking the world. So I often I talk about, you know, moving from the world as it is to the world, as it could be.

[00:32:06] I think that’s a really important shift that we start to look at because so often, especially with climate, we hear incredibly apocalyptic stories, far more regular than we hear actually beautiful possibilities. Yeah. Mm-hmm so what is your more beautiful vision for the world as it could be? Hmm.

[00:32:23] Elizabeth Bechard: I love that question.

[00:32:27] Hmm. And there’s so many layers to that. Right. But

[00:32:32] I’ll keep it specific to parents cause I think it would probably take, you know, the rest of the night to like describe a really comprehensive vision for the, for the whole world. But I would say, you know, I, I, I, what I hope for, for parents is that every, every parent. And everyone who loves children, right.

[00:32:49] Can, can feel like they’re in community, right? That like, no matter what may come there are people who will support them. There is a place for them to offer their support, that everybody has a sense of. Being able to contribute meaningfully to the world around them and have their, their needs met, by community.

[00:33:10] And that children kind of grow up with a sense of, of being loved, being held, having access to the resources that, that you would need for, [00:33:20] wellbeing, the truth is that we will have hard things that we’re gonna face in the future, but, you know, if together we could face almost anything.

[00:33:28] Right. So I would wish for, for people to have that sense of, of knowing that when the hard times come, they are held and loved and resourced. In community and I love that. That’s part of my vision.

[00:33:42] Laura Hartley: Yeah. This the held in community. I think that that’s a beautiful vision right there.

[00:33:47] Yeah. How can people find you online?

[00:33:50] Elizabeth Bechard: Good question. So I am on Instagram fairly regularly at Elizabeth Bechard. My website is www.elizabethbechard.com. It’s not updated very regularly these days. And you can also check out mom’s clean air Force’s work at mom’s clean air force.org.

[00:34:09] Laura Hartley: Amazing. I will make sure that the link to all of these is in the show notes.

[00:34:12] For anyone listening, Elizabeth also has a wonderful book parenting and a changing climate, which really holds this idea of pain, possibility, and practice. So anyone with young kids, I highly recommend this book. I really wanna thank you for coming on the show today and offering everything that you have.

[00:34:27] Elizabeth Bechard: Thank you so much.

[00:34:30] Laura Hartley: sorry for anybody listening. Thank you so much for joining us. Please remember to rate, review and subscribe. I also love to hear from you. I’d love to know what guests you would like to have on what topics you want to hear about. So please reach out to me on Instagram at @laura.h.hartley, or you can check out our online school for changemakers at publiclove.enterprises.

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