Writer. Energy Economist. Activist.
Cynthia Mitchell draws on five decades fighting climate change to write about the science and emotion of our environmental catastrophe. Her upcoming memoir, Finding Home in the Climate Crisis, chronicles the one time Cynthia left the battlefield — and her life — behind: After coaxing a near-death VW camper to the Pacific Northwest, she took up residence in a tumbledown shack free of electricity, heat, running water… and human noise. Only there, back in touch with nature, did Cynthia realize she’d only begun to fight.
Along with her second climate book, this one for teens and titled The Girl Who Loved too Much, Cynthia writes essays for prominent industry publications such as The Electricity Journal, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and California Currents.
Cynthia continues to pitch in on energy and utility issues, including appearances in fluorescent-lit hearing rooms reeking of the stuffed suits who set off her keen bullshit detector. She now lives in Santa Fe, where she practices yoga daily, tends her vegetable garden, and accuses her granddog Carson of assault and battery on the backyard chickens.
About the Garden
It’s 2015, and son Wesley said, “Mom, you can sell the [family] house, but you will never be able to leave your garden.” He was right, but after thirty years of growing a garden from bare earth, it was time for me to go. This short video set to Eva Cassidy’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” forms a backdrop to my memoir “Finding Home in the Climate Crisis.”
in the Climate Crisis
Cynthia Mitchell finds herself at a crossroads. After being born into a nightmare of abuse, alcoholism, and estrangement, culminating in teen pregnancy, an abortion, and a broken heart, Cynthia funneled her grief-fueled energy into a play-it-safe marriage and a manic career working tirelessly to push back against uneconomic and environmentally degrading fossil fuel policies. But after twenty-two loveless years her marriage has ended, her children are grown and gone, and her hopes of ushering in an era of energy efficiency and renewable resources have her tied to her computer, lacking authentic human connection and weighted down by the David-and-Goliath struggle against corporate interests and political divisiveness.
Exhausted, alone, and emotionally flat-lined, Cynthia faces only one question… but it’s a heavy one: How can she find an antidote for her personal detachment and leave behind the climate mess?
The solution: To reinvent herself wholly by pointing her new/ancient VW camper van toward the lush, soothing Pacific Northwest and finding a softer way of being. Embracing radical downsizing, Cynthia moves into a tumbledown outbuilding in Bellingham, Washington, that lacks most of the amenities she’s accustomed to, including electricity, heat, water… even a toilet.
With characteristic determination, she turns this primitive shack piece by piece into a cozy cabin she dubs the Butterfly House. But along the way, something surprising — or perhaps not at all surprising — happens: Against all odds, Cynthia’s fierce passion for fighting climate change is rekindled, and she realizes she has only just begun to fight.
Finding Home in the Climate Crisis chronicles Cynthia Mitchell’s lifelong struggle for purpose, belonging, and love while offering a path forward on turning climate anxiety into climate action and — dare we even dream it? — climate hope.
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