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Climate and Environment

Santiago Saez Moreno
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piqer: Santiago Saez Moreno
Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Climate Change Mourning Process Is Already Underway

Climate change is so big and pervasive that it matters to pretty much every other story, from conservation to corruption, from healthcare to city planning. That's why, as a reporter, I find it so fascinating (and terrifying). And one of the most interesting areas of intersection, for me, is psychology.

When you look at the data on a daily basis, climate change is really scary. If things don't change promptly and radically (and let me stress the word radically), we're up for a temperature rise of about 3.5ºC to 4ºC over pre-industrial levels. In layman terms, that's nightmarish. David Wallace-Wells may have gone too far, but our life is going to change for the worse. And that's if civilization doesn't collapse.

If we continue pumping out heat-trapping carbon pollution at the current rate, temperatures will rise by 4 degrees C by 2100, a level of warming climate scientist Kevin Anderson has called “incompatible with an organized global community.”

If there's a feeling climate change can stir, that's powerlessness, and that can be overwhelming. Many people are already grieving what's going to be lost. Others are already losing, and suffering from PTSD.

In this story, Jeremy Deaton follows various people trying to make sense of this emotional blockade: From Kate Schapira, an English literature teacher who assists those suffering from ecological anxiety at her makeshift booth in front of Brown University, to Renee Lertzmann, a psychologist who claims that people are stuck in a permanent "environmental melancholia". Another psychiatrist calls it pre-traumatic stress disorder.

Some are already looking for solutions. One of the most interesting involves Winston Churchill's speeches:

Climate change is a problem with the scope and urgency of World War II, and [...] it demands a response on the same scale.

This is a very well researched and written article, and while it would have benefited from a more careful edition, it's excellent material for reflection and further research.

The Climate Change Mourning Process Is Already Underway
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