Silvia Cojocaru developed a method to stay cool while working from home.
Without air conditioning inside her Coquitlam condo, Cojocaru placed water bottles — two litre jugs — inside her freezer.
Every so often, with temperatures rising above 40 C in the midst of B.C.’s historic heat wave in 2021, Cojocaru would bring a bottle to her desk and rub it on her face.
Local news that matters to you
No one covers the Tri-Cities like we do. But we need your help to keep our community journalism sustainable.
“I just typed at my computer and worked,” she said. “But then I’d have this frozen bottle of water that gave me a cool [feeling] under my chin.”
The impact from the 2021 heat wave, which caused more than 600 deaths in the province, provided a sharp reminder about the impact of climate change.
It heightened Cojocaru’s anxiety about the climate. It also spurred her to action.
“It just hit me at once,” she said. “I need to do something.”
She wasn’t alone.
Last year, a study found that the 2021 heat dome caused a 13 per cent spike in climate change anxiety for British Columbians. Not a mental illness, climate anxiety is connected to uncertainty about the future and the dangers of the changing climate
Following the heat wave, Cojocaru connected with the Force of Nature Alliance, a non-profit, volunteer-run organization based in the Lower Mainland dedicated to addressing the climate crisis.
Similar to her reaction to the heat dome two years ago, Cojocaru is said she hopes a new initiative will give people a space to talk about their climate grief — and potentially spur them to do something about it.
The Force of Nature Alliance is launching a four-part movie and speaker series next week at Coquitlam Public Library’s City Centre branch.
The series, which will screen a movie related to climate or the environment, is aimed at creating an opportunity for people to talk about their climate anxiety.
A lot of people feel some anxiety about climate but they don’t really have a place to share those feelings, according to Cojocaru.
“We came up with the project to create a space for people in the community to share their thoughts, discuss the subject, and maybe learn more about it.”
Specifically, Cojocaru said the series is designed to help people realize that they aren’t battling climate anxiety alone.
“That’s what helped me with my climate anxiety. . . . Learning that there are a lot of people out there fighting for change in all levels of government,” she said.
The first film, The Magnitude of All Things, parallels personal trauma with climate catastrophes across the globe and is scheduled for Aug. 9. The screening is set to be followed by talk from a local author Natalie Virginia Lang, who will discuss their relationship with nature.
Scheduled for Sept. 14, Oct. 31 and Nov. 7, the three remaining events are set to focus on a variety of topics ranging from the importance of tree habitat to the urgency of climate change and possible solutions.
Residents can write letters to their local politicians to raise awareness around climate change, Cojocaru said. But she added that the series is not aimed at forcing people into action.
“The movies are a means for starting a conversation,” Cojocaru said.
“It’s a place where they feel safe to have conversations about climate change with other like-minded people.”