Using Art and Storytelling to Confront Climate Anxiety


The panelists discussed their work on climate change and the way it shapes mental health, media, art, and activism. Climate anxiety is the feelings of grief, despair, angst, and doom surrounding the deterioration of the climate. Climate anxiety is on the rise, 2/3rds of young Americans and over half of all Americans are anxious about its effect on their mental health. As young people witness slow action to address climate change, this feeling of anxiety continues to grow. The panelists delved into how various forms of art and activism can foster hope and engagement as we work through climate anxiety. The audience learned more about resources and opportunities to address mental health while staying active in pushing for change.


Using Art and Storytelling to Confront Climate Anxiety

Panelist Bios:

Rasheena Fountain

Rasheena Fountain is an essayist and poet from Chicago's west side communities Austin and K-Town. She has been published or is forthcoming in Hobart, Penumbra Online, Jelly Bucket, ZORA, HuffPost, The Roadrunner Review, Crazyhorse, You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography, and more. Fountain received a 2021 Honorable Mention from the Trillium Arts “Miss Sarah” Fellowship for Black Women Writers. Fountain has partnered with Natural Resources Defense Council to highlight Black stories through writing poetry and profiles that center environmental justice. She is a former Walker Communications Fellow with the National Audubon Society. In 2018, Fountain started an online project, Climate Conscious Collabs, in response to the need for more Black environmental relationships in the media. This work has engaged a “nontraditional” environmental audience, as well as mainstream organizations like the North American Congress for Conservation Biology, which used her work during their annual conference in 2020. Fountain earned a BA in Rhetoric from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.A.Ed. in Urban Environmental Education from Antioch University Seattle. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington Seattle, where she is currently a Ph.D. student in English literature and culture. She is working on a multi-genre memoir about nature, environmental justice, decolonization, land, and Blackness.

Taylor Yingshi

Taylor Yingshi is a first-year at Columbia College pursuing Architecture. She mainly creates digital art, but also enjoys working with gouache and oil paint. Her work revolves around the preservation and transformation of memory, history, and heritage. Outside illustrating, she loves to watch neo-noir films and play Geoguessr. Find her on Instagram @yingshiart, or at

Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector is a mixed heritage filmmaker with a passion for amplifying and uplifting Indigenous and BIPOC voices. She holds three decades of experience as a community organizer, educator, filmmaker, film programmer, and arts curator, all infused with her deep roots in plant medicine. For the last 20 years she has directed and produced over 400 films including shorts, features, music videos, and virtual reality projects. Her work has been featured on Independent Lens, ImagineNative, PBS, and National Geographic, as well as at international film festivals including Cannes and Toronto. Tracy served as a Seattle Arts Commissioner for 8 years, sits on the boards of the Mize Foundation, Working Films, and the Flaherty Seminar. She enjoys travel, design, and learning about new cultural arts movements.

Wendy Greenspun

Wendy Greenspun, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst and serves on the board of directors of the Climate Psychology Alliance–North America. She is on faculty and supervisor at the Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis, at the Adelphi University Postgraduate Program in Marriage and Couple Therapy, and on faculty at the William Alanson White Institute’s Couples Therapy Training and Education Program. She has presented papers and workshops nationally and internationally on climate psychology and provides workshops and courses for mental health professionals on ways to work with climate distress and grief. She also provides workshops on building emotional resilience for climate activists and for university students at the Columbia University Climate School. She has facilitated group forums (climate cafés) for processing climate distress. She is in private practice in New York City.