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Build climate resilience with Generation Dread

Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis

By Britt Wray

Knopf Canada

Climate change has hit British Columbia in shocking and undeniable ways over the past two years, beginning sharply with the unprecedented heat dome of June 2021, which was followed by catastrophic atmospheric rivers that November that flooded the Fraser Valley and wiped out some of the province’s highways. Never mind the spring floods and summer wildfires that intensify each year.

Anxiety and dread are commonplace – we’re all worried about the future, but not sure what to about it. Canadian author Britt Wray, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University and the London School of Hygiene, where she investigates the mental health consequences of the climate crisis, wrote Generation Dread to help address this question. She was wrestling with the idea of having a baby in a distressed world that may be doomed.

Her book is both scientific and emotional. It describes the deeply human aspects of climate change, including eco-anxiety, outright denial of climate change and some strategies for how to be resilient enough to work towards real solutions.

Generation Dread was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, a CBC Best Canadian Non-Fiction Book of 2022 and an Indigo Top 10 Best Self-Help Book of 2022. It’s painful to engage with the topic of climate change, at least partly because it involves dealing with your own complicity, she writes. However, she also believes that piercing the bubble of silence and talking about the climate crisis is deeply empowering. Cultivating joy is another strategy to build the resilience necessary to look at the systems change required to solve the climate crisis, she writes.

For readers trying to do what they can rather than burying their heads in the sand, Generation Dread is a smart read, filled with insight and emotion.

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