Are you ever going through your day to day life, fulfilling tasks, making friends, and sleeping through your seven alarms when a bolt of existential dread hits you like a rogue lightning strike? Do you ever find yourself huddling in the corner of your room, staring up at the clouds, cursing them for their betrayal of your Saturday? Or are you one of countless refugees that, for one reason or another, has been forced from your home to seek a safer environment to raise you children and provide them with a better life? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the Climate Crisis Counseling Center might be for you.
Opened earlier this year, the CCCC has seen a massive amount of traction after activists like Greta Thunberg and Isra Hirsi were seen spreading the news of a global climate crisis in recent weeks. Although data on this phenomenon has been around for decades, those with the power to effect positive change have remained useless and ineffective in the face of total societal collapse. We caught up with Priya Mahar, director and head counselor, to hear more about the organization’s mission and recent success.
“People are scared,” Priya told us during a tour of their facilities last weekend. “And understandably so. It almost seems that the more you learn about the climate crisis, the harder it can be to take action that feels meaningful. Our job is to reassure these would-be activists that there work isn’t done in vain.”
As part of our tour, we got to listen in to a conversation with a middle-aged caller from Minnesota. Due to the nature of the business, names aren’t taken down, but a few details are collected for data reasons. Over the course of the call, the CCCC representative was able to guide the caller from completely nihilism to skeptical optimism, even signing them up for a protest later that week.
“It’s all about listening through the static,” the rep told us after the call. “People are afraid to admit just how lost they feel when they look at the future. Our job is to help them get that out of their system so that they can take that energy and put it into making sure those nightmares don’t come true.”
“Honestly the hardest part is believing what you are telling people,” one counselor admitted. “I mean, the science is out there, the ways and means are available, but we are choosing not to do anything. And I don’t just mean people in power, I mean us too. If we wanted to save our world, we could. So yeah, let’s just say it’s hard to tell someone everything is going to be OK when there is no guarantee that is even true.”
When asked what the hardest struggle was for the organization, Priya surprised us with her answer. “Like an organization or non-profit, we have to look forward. The hardest part for me was looking into the future and wondering, ‘OK, but what if the worst happens?’ We decided that, regardless of the future, we will continue fighting and offering counseling services to anyone who calls in. Even if it means (in 15-20 years) that all we do is talk with people to make them feel less alone in a dying world, we will be fulfilling our purpose.”
With that, Priya picked up her phone and dialed the number for the center. “Even I need a pick me up sometimes,” she said, before closing herself into her office. We followed her lead and called the number ourselves.
This was written by Nathan Ellwood, who could use a CCCC rep right about now. Follow him @NPEllwood and let him know if this should be an actual thing.