Alternative to climate - fear, rage, grief, shame


In the debate of climate action – people feel both fear, rage, grief and shame. How helpful are these negative feelings? What will happen if we focus on alternative positive feelings like seeking, lust, care and play?

In this article I sort our feelings in:

1.Primary emotions

2.Reptile responses

3.Micro face expressions




1.Primary emotions

Jaak Panksepp sorts primary emotions that emerges also in the climate debate into 7 primary emotions:

Fear of climate change, fear of the consequences are usual. It may lead to hopelessness and apathy.

Rage may occur when some are angry at – solutions, politiciand, other peoples opinions.

Grief may come from «»As we have the best living conditions in history, how could we come there that our society is worsening climate and nature?»

Shame, guilt and bad consciousness may be secondary or tertiary feelings and variants of the primary emotions of fear, rage and sometimes maybe grief.


More positive of the7 primary emotions are:


Seeking solutions, seeking hope. Interest and curious to find the next level, the first step to a better future. Seeking i motivation that drives the other positive emotions:

Lust may be seen as more than the pure sex, love – to a wider range of joy, pleasure, fun, for the present and the future solutions.

Care is to think about the best for others. It may be to cooperate, co-create, find common solutions. It is also to care about nature, animals, plants, microorganisms.

Play is underrated by adults. For instance when adults want to be creative. Humour and experimenting with possible crazy ideas and combination of ideas may cause a good laughter. That prolonges life. At the same time new «unthinkable» solutions to old problems may be a brakthrough for the next lexel to solve resistance.


2.Reptile responses

Fight, flight, freeze are well known instinctual responses. These deep instinct responses fills our body with large amounts of strong hormones that create stress and hinders dialogue. Logical thinking is shut down. It is difficult to co-create common solutions for both parts. The responses may be linked to the primary emotions of rage, fear, maybe also to grief. To solve climate change by cooperating and alliance building, we need more constructive alternatives than the fight or flight responses.


3.Micro face expressions

When we look at the micro face-expressions of people, Paul Ekman sorted them into 6 groups of feelings: Pleasure, rage, grief, awfulness, frightening, interest. When we see these micro face expressions, they may be linked to the deep primary emotions. Handle them with care! Take them seriously! Tcle the negative – create and motivate the positive face expressions and primary emotions:

Micro face expressions -              primary emotions          

Pleasure                              -              maybe derived form lust, care, play?

Anger                                                   rage

Sorrow                                 -              grief

Awfulness, warning        -              maybe linked to rage, fear?

Frightening                        -              fear

Interest , curious               -              seeking more   



It might be said that people are drawn between the negative and positive, good and evil, between hate and love. The values of love, care, play, seeking common hope and solutions by cooperating for a better future is one direction. Hate may be a variant of rage, fear, awfulising. Rage and fight are aggressive values. Fear is a passive withdraw value. Freeze is to be hindered in taking action.

Conclusion: To solve climate challenge it is needed to motivate people through the seeking for hope, solutions, take care, create together, listen, dialogue, pleaseure, joy, humour and play.



The trust in that we together may create common solutions that are benefit to people, planet and economy – are  to satisfy the Maslow needs of people and society: Survive/truth. Safe/flexible. Social bonding/ include. Self esteem/respect. When we manage these steps – it is possible to create together. Without these steps of trust building – people are afraid, uncertain and not willing to create better solutions together. What is your opinion?



Do you want to experience a test session on your «solution feelings» towards climate action, contact


Read more in my book: Kreative: