How Climate Scientists Keep Hope Alive as Damage Worsens

By Seth Borenstein.

In the course of a single year, University of Maine climate scientist Jacquelyn Gill lost both her mother and her stepfather. She struggled with infertility, then during research in the Arctic, she developed embolisms in both lungs, was transferred to an intensive care unit in Siberia and nearly died. She was airlifted back home and later had a hysterectomy. Then the pandemic hit.

Her trials and her perseverance, she said, seemed to make her a magnet for emails and direct messages on Twitter “asking me how to be hopeful, asking me, like, what keeps me going?”

Gill said she has accepted the idea that she is “everybody’s climate midwife” and coaches them to hope through action.

Hope and optimism often blossom in the experts toiling in the gloomy fields of global warming,COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease.

How climate scientists like Gill or emergency room doctors during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic cope with their depressing day-to-day work, yet remain hopeful, can offer help to ordinary people dealing with a world going off the rails, psychologists said.