"In some circles, it’s fashionable to blame the climate angst of young people
like Greta Thunberg on environmental education and the constant deluge of dire
warnings about imminent climate catastrophe, destruction of ecosystems, and
extinction of species. No doubt our children and youth are anxious. Many of
them are angry, too.
However, in the face of the very real environmental threats we face, feelings
of alarm, anxiety, and anger seem like appropriate responses, not signs of
mental illness. In fact, as one young adult commented in a 2013 study, “My
worries are rational, climate change is not.”
Derogatory terms like “mass neurosis” and “global warming hysteria” are
propagated by people like Rush, who don’t believe in climate science (or
tobacco science, either.) The rest of us know there’s a serious problem, and
yeah, we’re worried about it. Many of us are even alarmed.
And when that worry is united with a sense of agency and focused on problem
solving and solutions, it can be a highly constructive feeling, leading us to
engage with the issue and take action. Research suggests that taking action in
the company of like-minded people can be one of the best strategies for dealing
with climate anxiety.
The situation is particularly perilous for the mental health of our youth. They
are not just little adults. They are still growing and developing. And if
adults feel unsure about how to change what’s happening to the planet, imagine
how disempowered young people must feel. They can’t even vote. They are stuck
relying on adults and governments to respond, on their behalf, with an
appropriate level of science-based action, which we have manifestly failed to
do. Is it any wonder young people feel abandoned and betrayed? That their
climate angst has the colour of anger? The flavour of moral injury?"
Via Robert Sanscartier.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics