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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Anxiety That Comes From Climate Change

It's Halloween! Do you want to hear a scary story? Hi. My name is Santiago and I'm freaked out about climate change.

I'm a climate reporter and the coordinator of the climate change section of a Spanish nationwide magazine. I spend at least a couple of hours every day reading every piece of climate news I can find in the handful of languages I understand. I also research stories and interview experts who rarely bring any good news. Yet, like Cassandra, nobody seems to grasp the gravity of it.

That, let me tell you, can get on one's nerves. It can be outright terrifying some days (my partner knows a lot about that). So when I see any research, article, podcast, or documentary about ecoanxiety, I usually jump at it.

It seems that I'm lucky, as the excellent No Place Like Home podcast is going to devote a full season to talk about this kind of stress. Ecoanxiety is a recognized mental diagnosis included in the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

The first episode of the season features an interview with psychologist Renee Lertzman as the main course. She specializes in the particular grief activists, scientists and other people immersed in the climate change world feel. As another psychiatrist called it, it's some sort of pre-traumatic disorder. So what is it? And how do we deal with it?

These are emotionally charged issues, and it’s important, if you are experiencing anxiety, fear, anger… that whole range of emotions, to know that’s completely natural and it makes a lot of sense. That, itself, can be a powerful intervention for people.

The whole interview is well edited and fit into this 30-minute podcast, which is a great opening to a season I'll be looking forward to. The anchors participate in the story too, being activists themselves, and share their own experiences, and that helps to understand one of the key points of the interview: This kind of anxiety is different for each of us, and depends a lot on where we're coming from.

The Anxiety That Comes From Climate Change
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