Green Sports Panels

Climate Journal Project and EcoAthletes Co-Host Panel on Overcoming Obstacles, Including Climate Grief


Climate Grief — sadness, hopelessness and anxiety related to the overall effects of climate change — is an issue that has seeped into broad conversation over the last several years, especially among Millennials and GenZ-ers. The isolation forced by the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the problem.

The Climate Journal Project, a startup that helps people work through climate grief through a focused journal practice, is partnering with EcoAthletes to host, “Overcoming Anxiety & Doubt: Athletes Combating the Climate Crisis”. Register here for the free panel event that will take place Wednesday March 24 at 7 PM ET.


World-class athletes have to overcome tremendous obstacles, sometimes including grief, to get to and stay at the elite level. Three climate-active EcoAthletes Champions will share how they’ve dealt with on- and off-field challenges, as well as how they keep climate grief at bay.

A former Olympian and a 2-time winner of the Giro Rosa, Mara Abbott had to deal with the pain, fatigue and the mental battles that come with being a world class long-distance road cyclist. Now a journalist, Abbott realizes that the climate fight has a lot in common with cycling.


Mara Abbott on why she’s taking part in the “Overcoming Anxiety & Doubt: Athletes Combating the Climate Crisis” on March 24 at 7 PM ET


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Mara Abbott (Photo credit: Bart Hazen)


The obstacles Garry Gilliam had to surmount just to get to the NFL — eventually appearing in a Super Bowl as an offensive lineman with the Seattle Seahawks — would make for a great movie. That film would prominently feature his current role as the founder of The Bridge Eco-Village, an innovative mixed-use development in his native Harrisburg, PA. The company’s plan is to operate a development that provides marginalized people with a place to work, eat, live, learn and play. In so doing, The Bridge aims to replace centuries of systemic oppression and racism with systemic equity.


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Garry Gilliam at the groundbreaking ceremony for The Bridge Eco-Village last November (Photo credit: Joe Hermitt)


Merle Liivand has dealt with debilitating health issues since she was a girl in Estonia. Somehow, she was able to become a world class swimmer — Liivand will attempt to make the Tokyo Olympics this summer in the open water (long distance) event. Now living in South Florida, Liivand deals with environmental challenges up close: Known as “Merle The Mermaid”, she goes on long swims in a mono-fin off the coast, dropping trash she picks up along the way into a mesh bag that she drapes over her shoulder.


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Merle Liivand (Estonian World)


Dr. Maddy Orr, founder and co-director of the Sports Ecology Group, assistant professor of sport management at SUNY Cortland, and an EcoAthletes  advisory board member, will join the panel. She has written and spoken about about climate grief.


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Dr. Maddy Orr (Photo credit: Katya Moussatova)


Co-moderating the proceedings will be Yvonne Cuaresma, founder of The Climate Journal Project along with yours truly.


Again, the event is free: Click here to register and tell your friends.



Photo at Top: Merle “The Mermaid” Liivand and her Minions off the coast of South Florida (Photo credit: Miami Herald)



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