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Sarah Jaquette

Ray

Environmental Humanist and Professor
Climate Justice Advocate
Travels from: Arcata, CA

“It would be foolish not to freak out over climate change. But it would be sad if that despair kept you from working hard on this crisis, not to mention enjoying life on what is still a beautiful planet. This book has some wise strategies for finding a useful balance.”—Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself

Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray works at the intersection of climate, emotions, and justice. She is a professor and chair of environmental studies at California Polytechnic, Humboldt. An environmental humanist with a BA in Religious Studies, an MA in American Studies, and a PhD in Environmental Sciences, Studies and Policy, Dr. Ray draws on an eclectic range of disciplines and epistemologies in service of climate justice. Her first book, The Ecological Other: Environmental Exclusion in American Culture (Arizona, 2013), explores the logic and affects of social control in environmental thought.

Her second book, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet (California, 2020), is an existential toolkit for the climate generation. Ray is also a certified mindfulness facilitator through the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center. She has published on emotions and the climate movement in the LA Times, Scientific American, The Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Edge Effects, KCET, and Zocalo Public Square.

A Field Guide To Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet

University of California Press |
Non-Fiction

Gen Z’s first “existential toolkit” for combating eco-guilt and burnout while advocating for climate justice.

A youth movement is reenergizing global environmental activism. The “climate generation”—late millennials and iGen, or Generation Z—is demanding that policy makers and government leaders take immediate action to address the dire outcomes predicted by climate science. Those inheriting our planet’s environmental problems expect to encounter challenges, but they may not have the skills to grapple with the feelings of powerlessness and despair that may arise when they confront this seemingly intractable situation.

Drawing on a decade of experience leading and teaching in college environmental studies programs, Sarah Jaquette Ray has created an “existential tool kit” for the climate generation. Combining insights from psychology, sociology, social movements, mindfulness, and the environmental humanities, Ray explains why and how we need to let go of eco-guilt, resist burnout, and cultivate resilience while advocating for climate justice. A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety is the essential guidebook for the climate generation—and perhaps the rest of us—as we confront the greatest environmental threat of our time.

The Ecological Other: Environmental Exclusion in American Culture

University of Arizona Press |
Non-Fiction

With roots in eugenics and other social-control programs, modern American environmentalism is not always as progressive as we would like to think. In The Ecological Other, Sarah Jaquette Ray examines the ways in which environmentalism can create social injustice through discourses of the body.
Ray investigates three categories of ecological otherness: people with disabilities, immigrants, and Native Americans. Extending recent work in environmental justice ecocriticism, Ray argues that the expression of environmental disgust toward certain kinds of bodies draws problematic lines between ecological “subjects”—those who are good for and belong in nature—and ecological “others”—those who are threats to or out of place in nature. Ultimately, The Ecological Other urges us to be more critical of how we use nature as a tool of social control and to be careful about the ways in which we construct our arguments to ensure its protection.
The book challenges long-standing assumptions in environmentalism and will be of interest to those in environmental literature and history, American studies, disability studies, and Native American studies, as well as anyone concerned with issues of environmental justice.

Authors Unbound

How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet: An Existential Toolkit for the Climate Generation

Facing a future of compounding climate change disasters, many young people are organizing for action on climate change. Yet, it can be hard to deal with the feelings of powerlessness and despair that can accompany the hard work of social movements, especially when the adults in the room– parents, climate experts, and politicians– don’t seem to be doing enough to protect the planet for future generations. We have the technological tools to address the climate crisis, but what are the emotional resources young people will need to put those tools into action, combat burnout, and even find purpose in building a world they desire? What will it take for all of us to bring our best selves to the long haul of climate justice work, in the face of so much degradation and suffering? Drawing on her book, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet, Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray will talk about the role of emotions in the youth climate movement. Ray will outline strategies for engaging anxiety, grief, despair, and also joy, desire, and pleasure in service of cultivating a more just and regenerative world.

Authors Unbound

Emotional Skills for Saving the Planet

What will it take to imagine, desire, and thrive in a climate-changed world? We already have the technological, scientific, and economic tools to address the climate crisis, but what emotional resources are needed to put those tools into action? How can we live our best lives and bring our best selves to climate justice, in the face of so much degradation and suffering? In this talk, Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray will explore these questions drawing on her book, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet. The book brings together the social movement theory, environmental justice, climate psychology, and mindfulness to outline strategies for engaging anxiety, grief, despair, but also joy, desire, and pleasure in service of climate justice. Ray will talk about why it’s so important for all of us, and for the planet, that we find the resolve and courage to engage for the long haul.

Authors Unbound

Climate, Justice, and the Politics of Emotions

What does justice have to do with climate change emotions? How do climate emotions shape politics, identity, and culture? Who feels climate anxiety, and what does climate anxiety tell us about the politics of climate justice in America today? In this discussion, Dr. Sarah Jaquette Ray will explore the relationship between climate change, justice, and the role of emotions in bringing about political change. She will investigate the seeming paradox that marginalized people and people of color report higher concern about climate change than white and privileged people, yet rarely articulate their concern in terms of “climate anxiety,” even as the term is proliferating in climate discourse, from popular culture to the New York Times. How might racial and social justice concerns add to those conversations? Drawing on her research on climate emotions and justice, Dr. Ray will explore how to bridge the work on racial and social justice with latest insights about climate emotions.

Authors Unbound

Mash Between Research and Mindfulness

We face a perfect storm of emergencies– a mounting “polycrisis” of political, economic, ecological, and social breakdown. Multiple forms of illness are poisoning our lives, our communities, and the planet. Band-aid solutions don’t work. What is the remedy? How are we to navigate this tumult, show up, and be of service? And even more, how can we not just survive, but thrive in a climate-changed world? This talk explores why, even in the face of so much suffering, fear, and injustice, we must learn how to bring our best selves to the work of climate justice. Drawing on mindfulness, insights from neuroscience, and research on social psychology and social movements, Ray will talk about the role of mindsets, ways of being, and emotions in leveraging political change for climate justice. Ray outlines strategies for engaging anxiety, grief, despair, and also joy, desire, and pleasure in service of cultivating a more just and regenerative world.

Guest Article by Sarah

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Sustainability Champion, Cal Poly Humboldt 2021
Scholar of the Year, Cal Poly Humboldt 2021
Latinx Environmentalisms (co-edited volume), awarded best edited collection by MLA 2022.
Published in:
-LA Times
-Scientific American
-The Cairo Review of Global Affairs
-Edge Effects
-KCET
-Zocalo Public Square

Media Kit

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