Thanatologist Kriss Kevorkian (@agrievingworld) talks about environmental grief, coping with covid, why we need to laugh at tragedy and much more with Skaana (@skaanapod) host Mark Leiren-Young (@leirenyoung). Kriss came up with the terms “environmental grief” and “ecological grief” and she developed these concepts by working with people working for the southern resident orcas.

“I help support people who are dealing with environmental grief or ecological grief, or just the grief that people are feeling from all the chaos in the world today.”

“If a corporation can have rights, I think Mother Nature should.”

Please join the virtual book launch for Orcas of the Salish Sea – for elementary school students – and the board book Big Whales, Small World – May 1 2020 at noon PST on Facebook Live courtesy of the National Arts Centre of Canada and #CanadaPerforms.

Skaana connects you to stories about oceans, eco-ethics and the environment.

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Show Notes:

  • Introduction to Kriss Kevorkian – thanatologist (0:00)
  • What is a thanatologist? (7:35)
  • Avengers vs. Thanos! (9:00)
  • Coming up with the concept of environmental grief (9:34)
  • “What is environmental grief? …It’s the grief reaction stemming from the environmental loss of ecosystems caused by natural or man-made events.” (12:50)
  • Studying southern resident orcas & orca experts (13:05)
  • “Ecological grief is the grief reaction stemming from the disconnection and relational loss from our natural world.”(13:50)
  • Life lessons from a remora. (15:18)
  • “I don’t see grief as a disorder. I see it as a life issue. And I wish people would stop trying to medicalize it, or put it as some sort of mental illness because I don’t see my environmental grief or ecological grief as a disorder. I see it as a proper reaction to what’s happening on the planet.” (20:00)
  • Advice for coping with Covid World (25:30)
  • “The lessons I find from grief – and from death – are appreciating what we have in the now.” (28:33)
  • “Laughter is just one of those things that’s helped us get through dark times.” (37:22)
  • How Kriss fell in love with whales. (42:00)
  • “This pandemic is also teaching us that mother nature has a way of managing without us.” (45:15)
  • “If Jane Goodall can maintain a sense of hope, then who am I not to?” (47:00)
  • Orca rights. “I look at the rights of nature as helping… If a corporation can have rights. I think mother nature should.”(48:30)
  • “We need to start putting nature first.” (49:45)
  • “When we get rights for the Southern residents, they will be the first species to have rights of nature.” (53:15)

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