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caption: In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, trees burn at the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, Sunday, July 25, 2021.
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In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, trees burn at the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, Sunday, July 25, 2021.
Credit: Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

How communities persevere through climate catastrophe

Flip on the news and you'll see it: record flooding, record heat waves, record droughts and record wildfires.

It can be hard in 2022 to look at climate issues and not feel despair. But across the country, communities are persevering through our new climate reality.

From wildfires in Washington's Methow Valley to a California town struggling with the oil refinery in its midst, Madeline Ostrander's new book "At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on Changing Planet" seeks out the complicated adjustments communities are making to live with climate catastrophe at their door, and climate resilience on their horizon.

KUOW environment reporter John Ryan recently spoke with Ostrander about her new book at an event hosted by the Northwest Science Writers Association. Among many things, they discussed why acknowledging the emotional aspects of coping with climate change is important.

“I think we live in a culture where we're really good at compartmentalizing,” Ostrander said. “I think that we tend to talk about climate change in terms of science and data, and … too often, I think in terms of faraway ice melting.”

But for those who are less emotionally detached from the realities of climate change, their feelings can be a catalyst for action, she added.

“I think that when people allow themselves to feel the kinds of losses that we're experiencing because of climate change, and when people allow themselves to feel outrage, I think it can be really powerful — especially when it's shared,” Ostrander said.

But Ostrander said her book is not aimed at stoking feelings of despair – it’s meant to propel people towards hope that we can do something about our changing climate.

Today, Soundside is sharing one part of their conversation. You can stream and listen to the full conversation on the Seattle Channel.

This story was updated on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022 at 10:34 a.m.