June Gloom Brings Feelings Of Climate Grief In California

You can tell it’s a cult when overcast and dreary weather to start the month sends a person’s mind to immediately think of climate doom. This is bat-guano insane

Newsletter: Hooray, another June gloom in L.A. How that intensifies feelings of climate grief

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, June 3, 2023. Let’s look back at the week in Opinion.

With much of Los Angeles shivering under the cold blanket of fog we call May gray or June gloom — arguably our only truly identifiable season — it may seem odd to begin with a discussion on climate change. It may also seem like overkill, with last weekend’s newsletter devoted to wondering what a global warming-supercharged El Niño might bring to California (and what it might preview for a future of greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius [2.7 degrees Fahrenheit] of warming).

But the likelihood of global warming permanently burning away our mild late-spring respite serves as a good segue to a discussion on climate grief. It’s an all too easy emotion to feel spending your life in Los Angeles, where oceans warmed by our burning of fossil fuels mean the impending end of coastal fog and reliably cool starts to our summers, and hotter temperatures and longer droughts mean worse wildfires in our local mountains. The things we’ve had this whole time are disappearing; how we react to losing them isn’t all that different than how we’d handle losing a loving friend or relative.

The question now is what we do with that grief — and by grief, I do not mean hopelessness. It’s the process of acknowledging, however painful it might be, that something you love is lost or may soon be gone, and how that changes you.

For me, climate grief has intensified my antipathy to oil companies and clarified my resolve to use their products as sparingly as possible. It’s made each trip into local forests and mountains much more intentional: I connect now with nature in ways I never have before, aware that the spruces, pines and oaks that generously shade my favorite trails will probably perish soon from pestilence or fire. I make sure my children know their parents are doing what we can to make their future as habitable as the one we inherited. And I appreciate when May gray and June gloom arrive on schedule, or when snow falls on peaks within sight of L.A.

So, really, almost no change in behavior to limit his impact on the climate emergency. I’m not surprised.

I have my ways of dealing with climate grief, and others have theirs. Writing for our op-ed page, poet Tess Taylor beautifully describes the respite from climate grief that she finds in backyard gardening:

Yeah, Tess doesn’t really do anything, either. Bunch of climate cult lunatics.

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