This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 220 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.
There were dance parties, DJ sets, drum classes and tutu-making workshops. Still, despite the buoyant mood it wasn’t just another festival tailor-made for glossy Instagram photos. Instead, Catharsis on the Mall, which was inspired by Burning Man and took place on the National Mall in May, had a different aim— healing. Not surprisingly part of the conversation included climate change and within 24 hours of a climate anxiety session being announced, all the seats were reserved. Amid laughter and ambient festival noise 30 people gathered in a hot tent and sat on rugs and lawn chairs to talk about their feelings of despair, depression, and anxiety.
Debbie Chang, a volunteer with the D.C. chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, led the group and said the genesis of the event came from noticing the negativity of activists around her.
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