THE CURE FOR ECO-ANXIETY! Discover Simple Tips to Create Inner Peace and Lasting Change with Expert Laura Paskus

Imperfect Love | Laura Paskus | Eco Anxiety


Eco-anxiety is on the rise. We see and feel the effects of climate change at every turn. From natural disasters to increasingly unpredictable weather cycles, we can no longer avoid noticing humanity’s impact on the planet. It’s easy to slip into feeling anxious, helpless, and hopeless—plus riddled with grief—yet it’s never too late to increase our awareness and make a difference one day at a time. Though it’s tempting to put our heads in the sand—to ignore what the environment is telling us—we can find relief through positive actions. Join Dr. Carla and environmental expert Laura Paskus for an honest, hope-filled journey into the reality of climate change, eco-anxiety, and what we can each do to make a healing difference.


Books by Dr. Carla Manly:

Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly

Joy From Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend

Aging Joyfully: A Woman’s Guide to Optimal Health, Relationships, and Fulfillment for Her 50s and Beyond

The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships


Connect with Dr. Carla Manly:









Books by Laura Paskus:

At the Precipice: New Mexico’s Changing Climate

Water Bodies (Laura Paskus): Living in Relationship with the Most Abundant Substance on Earth

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

Connect with Laura Paskus:



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THE CURE FOR ECO-ANXIETY! Discover Simple Tips to Create Inner Peace and Lasting Change with Expert Laura Paskus

Climate change—and the anxiety that comes with it—is REAL. Every little change for the better reduces stress and makes the world a better place!

Eco-anxiety is on the rise. We see and feel the effects of climate change at every turn. From natural disasters to increasingly unpredictable weather cycles, we can no longer avoid noticing humanity’s impact on the planet. It’s easy to slip into feeling anxious, helpless, and hopeless plus riddled with grief, yet it’s never too late to increase our awareness and make a difference. Though it’s tempting to put our heads in the sand to ignore what the environment is telling us, we can find relief through positive actions.

Today, we’ll focus on this listener’s real-life question. I never had anxiety issues, but I feel super stressed by the endless bad storms and fires. Our house was damaged by floods for the second time in three years. I now struggle with PTSD. Even the news triggers me. My parents live in California and they lost their home in a fire a few years ago. My mom hasn’t recovered from the loss. Do you have any suggestions for me and my mom? And with that question as the focus of today’s episode, I’m Dr. Carla Marie Manly, and this is Imperfect Love.

On this episode, I’m joined by a very special guest Laura Paskus who will be sharing her expertise on vital environmental concerns including climate change and its impacts. Laura has worked for print, online, radio, and television outlets and has authored one book on climate change and a 2024 book on the beautiful life of water. Welcome to the podcast, Laura. I am so excited to be spending time with you, and I’m sure you have so many words of wisdom for our listeners.

Thank you. Thank you so much for inviting me and talking about this issue.

Before we launch into what is on so many people’s minds, could you tell us a little bit about what makes you, you?


Imperfect Love | Laura Paskus | Eco Anxiety


I would say probably the thing that is most me is I really like to be outside, and I am not fancy about my nature. Of course, I love to travel to National Parks or travel to distant places to see “big” nature, but I live in a city. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and there is nature everywhere you live. I think for me ever since I was a little kid, being outside was always where I felt happiest and safest and I’m also a mom and a long-time reporter and writer and someone who just really loves observing and learning about the natural world.

Thank you so much. You’ve already filled me with some questions. I’ll ask one. You and I were lucky. We live with abundant nature around us. What about those who live in a city where it doesn’t seem like there’s even birdsong to greet them in the morning? They’re hearing sirens instead of the sound of a robin. What would you say to our listeners who don’t have that natural comfort very accessible?

Yeah, I think about that all the time because I do live in a city. But I live in a city where access to parks and public open spaces, we have those things. First, for people who live in cities and feel disconnected from nature, I think that it’s possible to find nature in, as cliche as it might sound, in the cracks of the sidewalks. Even if what you’re seeing are pigeons and sparrows instead of hawks and sandhill cranes, nature can be accessible to all of us, even paying attention to the seasons and the tilt of the sun. I think just being outside can be helpful to our physical, but really our mental health.

Being outside can be really helpful, not only to our physical health but also to our mental health. Click To Tweet

It’s so interesting that you say that because I sometimes forget that, like you said, in the cracks of the sidewalk, there’s what we call a weed, a plant that just we don’t want somewhere but it’s a good plant. It’s still nature. Or a spider. I happen to be one of those who takes a spider and gently carries it outside if it’s in an area where I think it might get hurt or it’s interfering with my daily life, and that’s nature as well. Isn’t it?

It is and I don’t want to dismiss, access to nature in the United States specifically can be a real privilege. It’s hard for people who live in cities even to be able to take public transportation to green spaces. So I don’t want to diminish the privilege that you can have and being able to access nature, but I think, truly, even just setting your face toward the sun is a way to connect with the natural world around us.

Thank you for that. That is so beautiful. I hadn’t thought of that and that filled me with calm when you said set your face toward the sun. It’s like oh, yes, no matter where I am, I could set my face toward the sun, and that is a powerful dose of nature. Even if it’s raining, you can still kind of figure out where the sun might be and orient your being that way. I have another question for you. When you said that nature makes you feel safe, that really intrigued me because, just yesterday, I was asked by a reporter what I thought of birdsong. I guess there are lots of things right now about birdsong being so powerful.

I dove into some research and was not surprised, because I know nature sounds in general can be very soothing for us, and was really amazed by this one study that showed in high-stress environments, in this case an emergency room, that just playing birdsong reduced stress, reduced anxiety, and increased work performance. On one level, it’s like oh my goodness, that’s so wonderful, yet on another very human level, we realize that our ancestors, until less than 180 years ago, we were waking up with natural birdsong. We were going to sleep to the hoots of owls and the song of nightingales, and we’ve become so distanced from nature that’s no longer reaping its natural benefits. We might not realize how throwing that plastic bag on the ground or using styrofoam is going to impact the rivers and the ocean. We’re distanced from that connection. What do you think of that?

Building Back Our Connection With Nature

I think as a human in our culture, I mourn that loss of connection. I also know that, individually, we can build it back, collectively we can build it back. When you were talking about birdsong, it reminded me that, at the very beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, obviously like everybody else, I was scared of what was happening in the world, uncertain of the future, isolated. I started this daily practice of going outside and sitting in my backyard. Just having my notebook with me and writing down the names of everything I could hear. That would be like traffic, a truck backing up, a spotted towhee, a pigeon. That daily practice of learning to tune out the human-made sounds and really tune in to the birds and feeling connected to my neighborhood and the species I share my neighborhood with was a huge help to me. Being able to wake up in the morning, being able to face the day because I knew I would have that practice built into my day. I can see how playing bird song in something like an emergency room could be really helpful.

Even for those of us who use alarm clocks, instead of waking up to an alarm kind of sound, set it to wake up to birdsong. Right? Create something in your home where you can put it on your phone to have rainfall at night or the sound of owls, something that’s soothing. I love what you said, the piece about individually and collectively we can build back our connection to nature. That is so gorgeous because the more we feel connected to anything, a dog, a partner, our work, the outdoors, the more we want to take care of it, so that is brilliant.


Imperfect Love | Laura Paskus | Eco Anxiety


I also really want to thank you for that idea, because this is something we can all do. We can all just take a moment in the morning, step outside, or put our head out the window if that’s what we have, and start attending to I never thought of that. I can’t differentiate too many bird sounds. I know crows, I know, sometimes, ravens, I know owls and doves. Other than that most of them sound the same, so you’re giving me homework. That’s really going to help me tune in to what’s outside. Also tune into my own senses and I think our listeners will absolutely love that idea. It doesn’t take that long to connect with nature. I love the part where you said, yes, there will be those human sounds, but you learn to tune them out. What inner peace that automatically creates.

That daily practice really can help connect you with the wildlife in your neighborhood. Also, paying attention to what birds are coming and going and what your plants are doing, and what angle the sun is at and really connecting yourself to that seasonal cycle. In turn, noticing for me here in Albuquerque right now, toward the end of February, it is very warm here. My poppies are starting to come up, the birds are starting to sing mating songs, and I’m like it’s a little early for all of these things. We pay attention to the joy and the beauty and are also witnessing these changes and being a part of these changes through our care and attention.

Yes, and it’s that awareness that also can create anxiety. The awareness, as you’re saying, if you’re not paying attention to when the poppies are blooming or the various birds are mating and realizing that what is happening in the environment is causing this cascade of events. I remember listening to a podcast about it, and it increased my anxiety. I didn’t understand it fully, but it was something like the insects were coming earlier, but the birds weren’t ready for the insects. This is happening and everything is out of whack. Our nature is suffering because they’re not in alignment anymore. Could you describe that in words I might be able to understand and our listeners can absorb?

Becoming Out Of Alignment

Yeah, because of our release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, we have altered the planet’s climate to the point where, as you said, things are becoming out of alignment. For example, something that you might see is it starts getting warmer much earlier in the spring and so plants start coming up. You even start seeing fruit trees bud and then blossom. You have species, birds are traditionally migrating at a certain time, to fit into the ecosystem that they’re going to, to have their food supply, and to have the weather that they need for nesting and growing their young. When we’ve kind of broken apart the system and disconnected all of these pieces that have evolved together in a relatively stable climate, we’ve really messed up those systems.

Because of our release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, we have altered the planet’s climate to the point where things are becoming out of alignment. Click To Tweet

I was out the other day with a bunch of third graders here in Albuquerque who were learning about community habitat and place. During lunch, one of the kids had a plastic bottle with a bright blue drink in it, and it was very unseasonably warm. There was a little bee that had come out. There are no flowers. There’s nothing for the bees right now, and that poor little bee just wanted that blue sugar drink. It was just like the tiniest little example of how we’ve just thrown things out of whack and climate change is anxiety-inducing and very stressful. I think that there are things that we can limit our exposure to, like certain types of news and social media. But I would ask your listeners to never be tempted to disconnect from the outside world and witness what’s happening. Because I think it’s through our witnessing and connecting that we build empathy and we build action and we build solutions. So yeah, that sad little bee but I try to learn what I can from that bee.

I think it’s very poignant. You and I are the same, where you see the little creature. I rescue worms from puddles, right? Some people do, some people don’t. When you have that kind of sensitivity to nature and you see it struggling, and you have greater awareness than I do, I probably wouldn’t have picked up that the bee was struggling. Here we can see when we learn to look closely, when we expand our awareness we can say oh maybe there are shifts I can make too now. I’ll never look at a bee again in the same way. I’ll be looking and seeing. Okay, now, what is it? Is there enough food out there? Is it too early? What can I do? How can I help the bee? I think that’s so important.

Now, we raise the awareness, and so I’m with you. You say limit the news, limit the social media of certain types, but use whatever kind of news and social media that will help you increase your awareness, witness using your words, witness and connect, to build empathy, action, and solutions. That is beautiful because it gives us a place to not sit in the anxiety, not feel stuck by it, but to have this method of okay, what I’m witnessing can help me build my empathy, and build my skills so I can go out create action. We will find solutions when we follow that path. Can we get down to some basics about what the general public, me, our listeners can do? It is really upsetting it does cause feelings of grief and hopelessness and anxiety and stress. What can we do, each of us?

Understanding Climate Change

I think it’s really important to understand why the climate is changing and what’s happening globally, but really specifically to where you live. Look at where you live. Is your state or your community vulnerable to wildfire, flooding, drought, and king tides? When we’re scrolling through social media and seeing that algorithm putting so much information in front of us, I think it becomes immobilizing. It’s so much information, you feel so helpless that all you can do is sort of scroll and deaden your brain and deaden your heart. I think the more you can focus on learning about your state, your region, and your community, from there you can build community, and understand what systems are in place that are helping action on climate change and which are preventing action on climate change.

I think it’s really amazing that there are newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post and all the national newspapers now regularly cover climate change and that is awesome. I’m so glad that they’re doing that, but I really think digging down into your local community where you can have a real impact. I can’t change things that are happening on the other side of the planet. I just can’t and I can cry about things that are happening on the other side of the planet. I can pray for people, but the only place I really have an impact is in my local community and my state.

We can't change the things happening outside or on the other side of the planet, or cry about them. We can pray for people, but the only place we really have an impact is in our local community. Click To Tweet

I think avoiding the temptation of looking beyond and getting too overwhelmed and I just want to recommend an incredible resource, a really great book. It’s called A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet. It’s by Sarah Ray, and she’s in California. I love this book. I interviewed her on my show a few years ago. I love this book because it offers really concrete exercises and how to deal with your anxiety, including collective action and community. It’s kind of like a boring answer, people want big I-can-change-the-world answers, but I say start with your family, your community, your neighborhood, your state, your region, and you can really have an impact.

That’s very sage advice. Again, it’s not the simple quick fix most of us want to hear. We want to hear, oh, well if I turn my water faucet off, don’t brush my teeth with the water running, that’ll fix it. Well, that’s helpful. But thank you for the recommendation. I will be sure to put that book in the show notes as well as your wonderful books. When we look then at what for our listener’s question, she’s suffered from flooding to her home, her safe space, her parents have lost their home. I don’t know if she has kiddos or not, but she’s obviously feeling stressed and has some PTSD from being at the mercy of the elements. So we might imagine using your template. Yes. Look globally that the world is changing and much of it’s beyond our control, but bring it back to her community. I’m a big believer in channeling our anxiety into positive action, and we’re very much in alignment that way so on a basic level she might be able to work in her community to create awareness of what the community’s policies are toward planting trees to having green space to greenhouse gasses to the use of wood burning fireplaces, all of these things. That might be somewhat below the radar.

What else would you recommend for her, and we can use her as an example, to help her other than getting this support that she would need, the psychological support to process the PTSD to help for her mom. I know people who lost their homes in the fires, and we had to evacuate many times and it is stressful. People who lose their homes and their animals and loved ones to fires. It’s horrific and generally psychotherapy is critical for helping that process, but then getting through that to looking at okay next year. What will next year bring or what can I do so that I’m not looking at every day or listening to those winds coming or seeing the clouds and getting freaked out all over again? What are some very clear pointers that you think on a local level tend to make the biggest difference?

Build Community

I mean my heart just aches for people who are directly impacted by flooding and fires and things like that. It is really scary. It’s viscerally and physically scary. It’s financially devastating and I think that talking about it and talking about it in the community, whether it’s like a town hall meeting, a potluck in your church, in your workplace. Having public conversations about what’s happening and how hard it is I think is something that we don’t do regularly yet, but I think it is something that’s becoming more prevalent. I think in terms of what you can do on your own scale, community scale. Again, these are like boring civic-minded answers but understanding your local governmental structure and your land use loss tied to your water use laws. Is your community firewise?

There are tons of grants from states, the federal government, and nonprofits, that can help communities do things like make their communities safer for residents and firefighters and really setting aside some of the political rhetoric about climate change and find where people on all sides of the political spectrum can focus on this is a new reality. Fires in California are a reality. Flooding in many places is a reality. It’s not like we get through this year and the next five years will be okay. It is really climate chaos at this point, and so making sure that your community is prepared to deal with these issues in terms of how the government responds either with planning or emergency response, but also how we take care of one another. Is my house firewise? Because that affects my neighbor’s house as well. Do I know who in my neighborhood is maybe disabled and can’t evacuate in an emergency? Do they have a plan? Do I know what their plan is?

I saw it was probably 20 years ago now, but Bill McKibben gave a talk about climate change, and he was really always out ahead talking about climate change. Somebody after this talk asked, what was the single thing that people could do to address climate change, and he essentially said build community. That is the thing that we need to do. That’s the thing that we’ve gotten away from over the last century. But building community is going to be the thing that helps us.

To address climate change, we need to build community. It's the thing that we've gotten away from over the last century, but building community is going to helps us. Click To Tweet

Why am I sighing such a big sigh? Because I want you to tell us that we can fix it. I can just feel that’s what my inner voice is screaming. We need Laura to tell us how to fix it. We need to prevent it. We need to change the world. We need to get it back to where there is no more climate change and it’s giving me kind of this upwelling of tears because I’m hearing you say, and I didn’t want to speak it, but I’m hearing you say that we can’t change it. That’s what we can do is prepare ourselves for it and create that deep sense of community that will allow us to move through it with as much grace and as little trauma to ourselves and to our communities and the world as possible. Is that what I’m hearing you say?

Yes, and I know that sounds hard, but think of it this way. We still need to cut our greenhouse gasses. I never want to suggest that we don’t need to deal with the mitigation side of climate change. We need to cut our greenhouse gasses. We need to change how we live. But thinking about the climate change that’s already happening and has already kind of built into the system to continue happening. If we cut greenhouse gas emissions, we also lower air pollution which helps people with respiratory disorders breathe better. Our skies are bluer. We think about how to conserve our water or live within say an ecosystem in a way that allows us to not be obliterated by floods.

We learn to live within that ecosystem in ways that humans were meant to live. We learn how to remember how to build community because there are emergencies continuing to come one after the other. Building community is only going to make us feel better and stronger and happier in the long run. So it is these scary terrible things and there are changes and there are sacrifices. There are things that I think we need to give up. But there’s so much to be gained by embracing a climate-changed world in a way that reminds us that we are a part of nature. We are a part of this Earth and this system and we can remember how to better integrate ourselves into the natural world. They really believe that is how we survive. That is how we take better care of one another, especially the most vulnerable among us. I like to think of it in terms of we make these changes, but they’re really beneficial in the long run.

Thank you. I hope that feels more uplifting to our listeners, and coming back to the question of the day with some tips. What can we do? So we can repeat yours and maybe weave in some of mine, but we can get mental health support as needed, and not be afraid to do that. If you’re suffering, reach out. There are other people, many people suffering. That takes us toward the building of community, knowing that you’re not alone in your eco-anxiety and knowing that you’re not powerless. We clearly can’t stop climate change, but we can help it not progress so terribly and prepare ourselves and our communities so that we’re not, year after year, blindsided by another fire, another flood, another hurricane, whatever it is.

I love that idea because I was going to ask you, this idea of a community meeting, what does that entail? You were saying and you wove it right in it means let’s look at what our property, our situation, our block is doing. Let’s look at the next block over and the next block after that. What can we do to prepare where we live, our little home, our little apartment and/or ask the property agents, landlords, whatever but realize that the more we unite with other people on what is our new norm. It’s our new reality. I was really hoping you would tell us there was a way to turn this back. But okay. I’m accepting this. I wanted a different answer but that’s the hopeless optimistic side of me, just hopelessly optimistic.

We build community, we make changes, we do things that we’ve known for a long time to pay attention to. Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, and do the laundry less frequently. I love spring and summer because I always hang my laundry out to dry. It’s one of my greatest joys. We can do things like that. Reduce water use. Reduce electricity use. Walk to the store when possible. Bike to the store when it’s safe and possible. Not go out every single day just because we have a car and we can, but go out on our errands and weave them together, which I’ve learned to do. I do much better at that now and little steps like that. Plant a garden if you have a window sill, you can, a little dollop of sunshine. You can plant herbs to remind you of your connection to nature. You can take your kiddos, you, your partner, your parents, whoever out for a walk in nature every day, five minutes, 15 minutes. Not only does it boost your mood, but it boosts that connection that you’re talking about.

We must feel connected to nature and the people around us. Maybe reduce our use as much as possible. Does that make a difference? When we buy less packaged items when we share our lemons with neighbors rather than letting them rot under a tree. I think that’s a thing I’ve seen a lot of lately where people are doing their local little libraries or the local food-sharing cupboards. Let’s not overuse it. Let’s eat our leftovers. Let’s reduce our impact on the world. Those might sound like small things but I hope they’re not because they are action items that we each can do, and not flush your toilet as much.

My husband laughs at me because I’m like, “Honey, it’s just pee.” He’s like, “Flush every time.” I’m like, “No, if it’s just pee, I’m not flushing it every time.” He’s used to it now. There was the old saying, what was it? Blush, don’t flush. Not that we want to do that in public toilets, but it’s okay in our home. Each time we don’t flush the toilet or don’t leave the water running. We are making a big difference. What do you think? Am I reaching too far with that?

Our Choices Makes A Huge Difference

No, I think that is a huge difference. Our choices when it comes to our foods, huge. I think sometimes that the organic industry can get a bad rap because people are like, oh organic food is too expensive or there’s a sticker with adhesive on my organic apple. Organic food is not about you. Like that’s great. I can eat an organic apple and I’ll reduce my exposure to pesticides. Organic produce in my mind is about reducing the amount of chemicals that are dumped on landscapes and that people who live or work near these fields are exposed to.

Those choices have meaning so far beyond what it means for you or your family. It’s the same with your consumption. The more you can reduce, I mean single-use plastics are an atrocity on our planet. It is ridiculous that we use single-use plastics. Reducing the use of those as much as possible. Sharing what you have so it doesn’t go to waste, composting instead of throwing it in your big collection for the landfill. All of these things have meaning beyond our personal lives and they also with each step you take like that, it’s just a reminder of your connection to this world and the choices you make matter to others. So I think every teeny tiny action you take I believe has repercussions, good ones.

Thank you. I’m going to go back to at least three of the things you said. Organic food. I’m such a believer in organic food and it can be more expensive. But listeners, if you shop with the seasons, you will often find meaning whatever our ancestors would have done. They would have had blueberries at a certain time of year and apples in the fall and citrus in the winter because that is when it’s more plentiful and, during that season, you often find that the organic section in your store is cheaper than the conventional. You’re right. You are helping yourself, but you’re also really helping the people who are working in the farming industry, the people who live adjacent to the farms and your very own water supply. Because face it, whatever we put in that water, whatever it is, be it hair dye, be it pesticides, whatever, we are going to drink it someday. Our water filtration processes do not filter out that stuff.

So that’s one. The single-use, I’m with you, the single-use plastics. That’s why we can use our water bottles. We can use our refillable water bottles. We can go back to some of those basic pieces of life and say no to purchasing single-use plastics, these single-use water bottles. I’m still confused. Single-use plastics in California, they were outlawed several years ago. Yet, I still see them. There is some loophole that is allowing convenience stores and certain restaurants to bag up things in single use. That’s an idea right there for community action. It’s a letter to the governor, a letter to your state assembly people, why is this still happening?

I was on a recent trip overseas and was crying at every turn and filling up my arms with trash that was at the edge of the season on the beaches. I didn’t have enough arms to hold all of it and it’s heartbreaking. Yet, we aren’t powerless when we go to the beach. We can pick up trash. Yes. Sometimes it feels like you’re making a small dent but we can pick up other people’s trash we can have a pair of gloves with us that we keep and do that if you need gloves, excuse me, I don’t use gloves but oh well. The other thing that we can do is make sure we’re not part of the problem that we say “No, I’m not taking that plastic bag, I will carry this with me to the car.” If I don’t have my bag with me. We can make statements and say no.

The other thing you said composting, which I must admit is very new to me and I have started composting. So in my kitchen, we have the regular trash bin and then we have the little green bin and I take it, and they told me what to do with it. Just go and put it in the green way spin and it’s not stinky. It’s not terrible at all. It’s just a matter of segregating, and knowing what we can compost, which are our coffee grounds, our banana peels, our apple cores, and all sorts of things. Color me goofy, but I didn’t even know that contributed to greenhouse gasses when it went into the landfill. It didn’t compute. I mean now I’m aware, but my goodness there’s a lot for us to learn about some of these basic things that we can do.

As we shared those little tips, I could actually feel my anxiety around feeling powerless too, because you didn’t have the solution, I desperately wanted you to have the magic solution. I’m feeling better because now I’m remembering how much we can do. For our listener, how much she, wherever she lives and she can give some tips to her mom because you’re giving us so many tips to remind us that we do have power and then when we are that force of change we can bring all of that into our community and really show that we care, not just become anxious about it, but we can show it through our actions.

Yeah and you know, I just keep thinking of your listener’s mom and the fires. The fires are so scary and we’ve spread out into all these places where now the forests are drier and warmer. Here in New Mexico, we have these bigger and more catastrophic fires that can just devastate entire communities and it’s really scary. It again comes to that idea of community, watching out for one another, paying attention to what’s happening outside. What kind of day is it? Are you paying attention to red flag warnings? What is the emergency response for your community? There’s no way that we can survive this warming world on our own. Do you remember back with like Y2K and the people who had the bunkers? Nobody survives in their bunker for long and what kind of a life would it be if you’re the only one? It’s in the community that we thrive.


Imperfect Love | Laura Paskus | Eco Anxiety


Absolutely, and I want to highlight something that you said that now makes me realize it was a tip for our listener. You took, I think you said, third graders on a field trip. As you pointed out nature to them and worked with that, you’re helping create a younger generation that has awareness. So something like that, even if one of your only outdoor skills is being able to take kiddos on walks and point out birds and bees and something blooming, that’s fantastic. Even if you go into a classroom and show kiddos that there’s an alternative to buying a single-use plastic bottle. Remember, this makes a difference and this is how. So you’re right. There are so many things we can do to build community, build connection, and create change, positive change, that will help us not feel so sad, hopeless and anxious.

Laura, I could talk to you for a lot more because I know you have so much to teach me, so much that you could share with our listeners, but before we go, I’m going to talk about the oil companies’ part in all of this. I think that’s another podcast because I can feel my ire coming up when we get into that. But I’ll let that go for now because I can only imagine where that would take us. Could you tell us a little bit about your books, both of your books? And then, where our listeners can find you because I’m so excited about your 2024 release as well. So please do share.

At The Precipice: New Mexico’s Changing Climate

Thank you. Thanks for asking. In 2020, the University of New Mexico Press published my book At the Precipice: New Mexico’s Changing Climate which really consolidates about 15 years’ worth of climate reporting and New Mexico and the Southwest into a book that is for general readers. There’s lots of science and lots of politics in it, but it’s really for general readers to understand why the climate is changing, and what the impacts are.

One second, for that book, for those who don’t live in New Mexico, I imagine that there are many tenets that they could read about and embrace within their own community. Is that so?

Yeah, and actually one of the chapters focuses on mourning, and grieving in this instance, after a big fire in New Mexico. You don’t have to just be a new Mexican to read it. It’s applicable to lots of places even though it’s kind of set here in New Mexico.

Good, just like a movie that’s set in one place, but we can take components of that movie and say that resonates. Now moving to your 2024 release, Water Bodies. Please do tell.

I’m really excited about that. Thanks for asking. That’s coming out in October from Torrey House Press, a nonprofit, awesome press in Utah. Basically with this book, I wanted to write about how water isn’t just a resource to be managed or something that humans use but that water has a consciousness and desires and needs and wants all of its own. So I reached out to a bunch of my favorite writers in the West, a lot of journalists who write about water, some poets, and asked them to write very, very personal essays about their relationships with their local water bodies. I could not be prouder or more excited about this collection of essays and poems and the people who are represented in this book. Again, that’ll be out and October 2024 from Torrey House Press

Thank you. Laura, thank you so much for the work you do. Thank you for sharing your time with us today. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for helping to make the world a better place. I truly, truly appreciate it.

Thank you. Thank you for all you do, and thank you for this reiteration of this idea of Imperfect Love. I just love that and I think it applies to the climate movement. Thanks, I appreciate you.

You’re welcome. I never thought about, how could I miss that, that of course it applies to the climate. My whole thing is about we don’t need to love ourselves perfectly to love others well, and working with our imperfections, not being embarrassed of them or ignoring them. As humans, we’re naturally imperfect. Look at the world and what happened, what we have done to planet Earth. We can look and say yes, we’re imperfect but we can change for the better. We can each. So thank you for tying it to the Earth because she is our home. She is our mother. We want to take care of her and we can love her imperfectly, but we can sure step up our action in ways that show her our love. So thank you. Again, Laura, you are amazing, and I can’t wait for our listeners to find you. Where can they find you other than in your books?

Currently, I work at New Mexico PBS and have a program that focuses on environmental issues here in New Mexico. That’s called Our Land: New Mexico’s Environmental Past, Present, and Future.

I think you’re on Instagram, @Laura Paskus. Thank you, Laura, for sharing your time with us. Thank you, listeners. This is Imperfect Love.


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About Laura Paskus

Imperfect Love | Laura Paskus | Eco AnxietyLaura Paskus has reported on environmental issues in New Mexico and the U.S. Southwest since 2002, when she began her career at High Country News. She has worked for print, online, radio, and television outlets, covering the most important environmental issues of her generation, including climate change and its impacts. She’s the author of the 2020 book, “At the Precipice: New Mexico’s Changing Climate” and is senior producer of the series on NMPBS, “Our Land: New Mexico’s Environmental Past, Present and Future.” Over the course of her career, Paskus has freelanced for local, regional, and national outlets and also worked as managing editor for Tribal College Journal, a publication of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium; as a reporter and producer for KUNM-FM in Albuquerque; and as the environment reporter for New Mexico Political Report. In 2024, Torrey House Press will publish her new book, “Water Bodies.”

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