"Right now I am really interested in the contagious nature of hope and am actively seeking ways to spread a global epidemic of solutions-focused environmental engagement.”-- Dr. Kelsey
This week Sarah talks to Dr. Elin Kelsey. Dr. Kelsey conducts research into the emotional responses of children, environmental educators and conservation biologists to the culture of "hopelessness" that permeates environmental issues. She received her PhD in Science Communication/International Environmental Policy from Kings College London. She teaches in the Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication Program at Royal Roads University in British Columbia, Canada. She is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Victoria School of Environmental Studies. Dr. Kelsey consults and collaborates on academic, public engagement, and writing projects with a wide variety of institutions including the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, the Zoological Society of London, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. At the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany, Elin worked on a popular book that is part of a multi-year collaboration, entitled Circumnavigating Hope. She produced a useful publication and website from collaboration at the Rachel Carson Center, called “Beyond Doom and Gloom.” She also collaborated with the UN Environment Program’s special conference Children and the Environment to do a session on Hope. Another collaboration resulted in a crowd-sourcing social media project to document all the good things that people are doing for the ocean, called #oceanoptimism. We link all of these resources below.
Last but definitely not least, Elin is the author of several children’s books, including Saving Sea Otters, Finding Out about Whales, Wild Ideas, You Are Stardust, Canadian Dinosaurs, Strange New Species, Not Your Typical Book about the Environment, and Watching Giants: The Secret Lives of Whales.
Elin positively exudes exuberance, and Sarah was on the edge of my seat listening to her. She talked about hope, despair, how we can cultivate hope by surrounding ourselves in stories of solutions happening in the world, the need for emotional training for people who teach and work on climate change issues, the importance of narrative, and why children in particular need stories not of doom-and-gloom, but of wonder and empowerment. As she says, she is hopeful because through the work she does, she “breathes a different oxygen.”
Image Source: "Wild Ideas" by Elin Kelsey, Owlkids Books