Climate Feeling Map

What are some of the feelings people have about the environment and climate change? This map opens up a conversation about climate emotions.

Goal

One of the keys to emotional wellbeing is being able to name and communicate about feelings. This map provides a simple way for people of all ages to share their own feelings and see others’.

Resources

  • In Person:
    • Make a space on the wall for a graph with two axes intersecting in the middle (like a + sign).  Label the left-hand end UNPLEASANT and the right-hand end PLEASANT. Label the top INTENSE and the bottom MILD.
    • Provide post-its or papers+tape for people to add words
  • Online:
    • Make the + graph on a white board (such as Jamboard) or an online doc where people can write  
  • Place a few of your own example words on the graph
  • Activity Instruction Sheet (optional) click to download

Instructions

  1. Think about the earth and what’s happening locally and globally in terms of climate change. What are some of your feelings?
  2. Write one feeling at a time, then post each one on the + graph.
    For example, if you write “Grateful” probably it goes to the right (toward PLEASANT) and, if you’re feeling that with a mild level of intensity, perhaps it’s on the lower-right quadrant.
  3. After you’ve written 3-5 different feelings, notice your own and others’ feelings on the chart.

Discussion

  • Did you find that your feelings were all in one area, or spread around on the graph? What  does that tell you?
  • What are some feelings you see others have written that are like your feelings? How do you feel seeing that?
  • What are some feelings that others have written that are different from your feelings? How do you feel about that?
  • What’s one feeling on the left side that you think is very important or motivating? How about on the right? 
  • Sometimes people describe the feelings on the left as “negative” and try to avoid these feelings; what do you like or dislike about that?
  • Overall, how big is the range of feelings? What does that tell you?

Extensions

When working online, any of the discussion questions can be done in small breakout groups.

This activity can be used in processing some other experience (such as after a movie, a speech, reading a book, doing a simulation, etc) as a way to explore the range of emotions.

This graph can also be used to track feelings over time; at Six Seconds we call this the Feeling Log and often use it for individuals or groups to name and understand feelings.

Tip: The feelings on the left can motivate people to confront and work on problems, so they are valuable. For more about the idea that there are no negative feelings, see 6sec.org/a/integrated .

Activity Source

Joshua Freedman, Six Seconds - adapted from the Russell Circumplex Model of Emotions
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10 minutes