THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A GUARDIAN ARTICLE ON CLIMATE ANXIETY: LINK TO SOURCE: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/08/anxiety-climate-crisis-trauma-paralysing-effect-psychologists
PART-1: WHAT THE GUARDIAN ARTICLE SAYS
Climate Anxiety is hindering climate action. Psychologists say the trauma of the climate crisis is a key barrier to change. You’re browsing in a supermarket and fretting mildly about the air miles of some green beans. Or you’re daydreaming of that island holiday you deserve once the pandemic has died down but worrying about whether you should be flying. How about the amount of meat you eat and all that plastic it’s wrapped in? Maybe you should be vegan. Maybe you shouldn’t have children: they will only increase your carbon footprint. Maybe nothing you do will matter anyway. This is Climate Anxiety
Climate Anxiety is a sense of dread, gloom and paralysing helplessness that is rising as we come to terms with the greatest existential challenge of our generation, or any generation. Psychologists believe the trauma that is a consequence of climate breakdown is also one of the biggest obstacles in the struggle to take action against rising greenhouse gas emissions. There is a growing sense that this trauma needs a therapeutic response to help people to overcome paralysis and to get into climate action.
A deep sense of dread and vertiginous anxiety may be the most rational response to the dizzying pace of the climate breakdown in 2020, but it is seldom the most helpful when it comes to affecting change on the scale needed to limit the unfolding crisis. Climate trauma has been lurking within Western Society’s collective psyche for the last 40 years, rendering most people unable to act on the looming crisis we have known for decades would come. Those left standing in a supermarket unsure whether they should buy an avocado may be suffering from mild eco-anxiety. You’re not falling apart but you feel caught in a dilemma. We now need to use psychological principles to help process the collective trauma of environmental breakdown and motivate action.
Climate Psychology: When we look at this through the lens of individual and collective trauma, it changes everything about what we do and how we do it. It helps us make sense of the variety of ways that people are responding to what’s going on, and the mechanisms and practices we need to come through this as whole as possible. Every one with a public voice has a responsibility to act as a guide, not as a doomsayer or cheerleader. We know how to deal we haven’t yet applied that to a climate trauma context,” she says. The human psyche is hardwired to disengage from information or experiences that are overwhelmingly difficult or disturbing. This is particularly true if an individual feels powerless to affect change.
This makes communicating the reality of the climate crisis a psychological dilemma with existential consequences. In its most extreme form this inability to engage presents itself as a complete denial of the climate crisis and climate science. But even among those who accept the dire predictions for the natural world, there are “micro-denials” that can block the ability to take climate action.
WE OVERDID THE CLIMATE CRISIS.
CLIMATE FEAROLOGY HAS BEEN OVERSOLD.
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