Finding Lightness of Being In The Midst of Climate Chaos

Ami Chen Mills-Naim
19 min readApr 6, 2021

“Seriousness, like life, is a thought … and this thought creates a feeling. And if you create the feeling of seriousness, then you are in a very serious state …

You are very liable to have stress, strain, sickness and unhappiness and jealousy and everything else … Now, seriousness doesn’t help you do anything in life, but destroy yourself.” — Sydney Banks

Glaciers calving due to excess heat

In hindsight, I don’t think I quite knew what was coming.

For many years, I cared about climate change. Probably since before Al Gore’s first movie put to rest much of the misinformation that had been flying around for years about global heating, and that was, honestly, pretty confusing.

“An Inconvenient Truth,” released in 2006, explained the fluctuations in temperature that would come with heating — not just more heat, but also, more severe cold as the jet stream became unstable. Gore graphed the changing and erratic weather and explained that, although year-by-year temperatures went up and down, they were now going up, up and up, the smaller zigzags in degrees like a stair step toward a hot house Earth.

I wrote a children’s book called Weird Weather* about global warming, but mostly, I got on with my life. I was in my twenties then. Adventure was calling! I lost the manuscript for Weird Weather somewhere, between computer and house changes over the ensuing decades.

I observed, from a distance, the news media endlessly not reporting on climate — not with the kind of seriousness one would assume the issue warrants. This, as well as the slow moving nature of the climate crisis lulled me, and so many of us, to sleep.

When Barack Obama was elected President here, he pursued serious climate agreements with the international community. Like others, I assumed these world leaders were addressing climate responsibly. These were people who could see the big picture, and actually make a huge difference, people who were supposed to handle such things. I had the vague thought, like many others, that…

Ami Chen Mills-Naim

Global teacher, mother, author, journalist: SF Chronicle and Examiner, Inc. Mag, Metro, 3 CNPA First Place awards. See “Heart of America” on YouTube