Recreation & Self-Care In The Fight Against Climate Change

(Illustration by @gloriapittmann via Giphy)

I originally shared these two quotes in my Intro to Recreation, Parks, and Tourism (RPT) class this semester, but I wanted to share them here because these messages are so important and relevant! They revolve around the dire need for self-care as we face climate change and try to mitigate and adapt to our rapidly changing world. I think this advice can be applicable to any variety of activism and work.

Susanne C. Moser

These are quotes from the essay titled “The Adaptive Mind” by Susanne C. Moser, PhD., a social science researcher and consultant revolving around the climate change adaption field; her work “focuses on equitable adaptation and transformation in the face of climate change and interlocking stresses; on climate change communication in support of social change; decision support and the interaction between scientists, policy-makers and the public” (read more about Moser on her website here).


This essay was written for the fantastic book All We Can Save by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. The anthology is an all-womxn work collection of essays, stories, and poetry about the climate crisis, published just this year—it really could not have been published at a more relevant time. I’ve only just begun reading through this absolute precious gemstone of a book, and it’s going slowly due to how hard-hitting each and every single publication is.

Anyhow, here is the first quote that really resonated with me

“Burnt-out people are less effective people. Burnt out people can become sick people. Burnt-out people leave their jobs and are replaced by less experienced people. Burnt-out people aren’t equipped to serve a burning planet.”

Susanne C. Moser, PhD.

This quote reminded me of recreation because it’s the best method in tackling ‘burn-out’ that climate change activists may suffer from. Burn-out is counterintuitive and damaging for both the movement and one’s self. It is the reason why, in cases of aircraft emergencies, one should put on their own oxygen mask first before moving to help others with theirs. It isn’t out of selfishness or a lack of care for others, but of self-preservation. Ensuring you can keep on helping others and making a positive impact on the world.


Moser’s essay serves as a reminder of such self-preservation.

She lists some valuable reminders, including: “take a break and enjoy simple pleasures,” “do what brings you immediate joy,” “nourish yourself spiritually,” and “seek social support”. All of these can be fulfilled through recreation! Recreation is so multi-faceted that everyone’s methods of recreation can either overlap or be entirely different. It is up to each individual to decide what they enjoy most.

I can think of a few regular recreational activities of mine. My stress-relieving activities include nature walks, bullet journaling, yoga, and roller skating. These are also my methods of connecting with the environment, with others, and with my own self.


Whatever it is that makes you happy, energizes you, and reinvigorates your sense of purpose, dedicate the time to do those things!

At the end of Moser’s essay, the last paragraph states,

“Caring for our hearts and minds, rejuvenating our bodies, reconnecting with each other, and deepening into our deepest purpose is taking our psyches seriously. This is an act of rebellion against the extinction of soul. That, too, is climate change work. It is culture change work. And it is essential.”

Susanne C. Moser, PhD.

Recreation and climate change are intertwined not only for direct environmental impacts threatening purely species survival and wild areas that fuel the recreation, parks, and tourism industries… but because humans connect to Mother Earth spiritually and emotionally, and in which recreation is a vital method of grounding that connection.

After reading Moser’s essay, I just had to share these powerful quotes on here. I hope they inspired you as much as they inspired me. I highly recommend picking up All We Can Save for more poignant essays revolving the fight against climate change. And please, please, please: remember to take care of yourself!

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