More bad news. Dezeen moans that “Our biggest climate challenge is no longer denial, but despair”. And a piece in Nature Mental Health (yes, there really is such a publication) says “The mental health effects of weather-related disasters are well characterized, yet less is known about the effect of chronic, slow-onset climate change.” Untrue. We know that when conditions change gradually and we have time to adapt, it does not cause us to lose our minds. You on the other hand…
The NMH piece actually seems to agree that their story is not a story. It explains, if it’s the right word, that we know nothing about how worried people are about changes in climate too slow to be worrisome:
“Qualitative studies further elucidated negative emotions related to chronic climate change, including worry, grief and frustration. However, some studies noted mixed or null findings. Results suggest a need for further research to identify causal pathways and mechanisms through which chronic changes in the climate may affect changes in mental health. Instead of focusing on trauma-based frameworks (as are commonly used in studies of acute disasters), this work should holistically consider individual, community and societal factors that shape the mental health consequences of slow-onset climate change.”
Zzzzzzz. Oh-- it’s over. Where were we? Slow onset climate change means there’s no crisis, nothing disruptive is happening, the weather is just a bit different now than when we were kids. Which isn’t even clear anyway. How can you go mad in response unless you were already on the train? Or were you just looking for an excuse?
Or a clue. The Dezeen piece starts:
“Climate fatalism stands in the way of a sustainable future but designers and architects are in an ideal position to overcome it, writes Katie Treggiden.”
Architects? Are you sure? Besides, we’re having a hard time believing you did any research when the article continues:
“The mainstream media is finally waking up to the realities of climate change. As wildfires, floods and storms wreak havoc across the world, journalists and activists far braver than me are speaking truth to power to make sure we all know just how serious this thing is. And that is vital and right and proper.”
Finally waking up? The mainstream media who’ve been hectoring us ad nauseam on it since 2000, which may well be before Ms. Treggiden reached high school? And truth to power, when everyone who’s anyone from Bill Gates to Joe Biden to Leonardo DiCaprio to King Charles won’t shut up about it?
Still, there is a solution, though it may strike some people as having drawbacks. Move to Iowa. Because according to Jessica Hullinger on Heatmap Daily, “A recent Heatmap News poll found that, compared to people in the South, Northeast, and West, Midwesterners were consistently blasé about climate change.”
She says it’s not that they’re all dopey Republicans as one would naturally assume. In fact the Midwestern poll respondents “largely identified as moderates and independents.” Instead, she surmises, it’s because they’re not yet on fire:
“By virtue of its location, separated by hundreds or thousands of miles from the flood-prone coasts and the fire-prone regions to the south and west, the Midwest has so far been spared some of the scariest, most extreme weather events of recent years. No hurricanes decimating neighborhoods. No major wildfires scorching the landscape.”
Whereas in Manhattan everybody’s hair is on fire, at least metaphorically. Including that the Midwest will soon be ablaze, under water, wreathed in wildfire smoke and aaaaaaah! I can’t sleep or eat.
Unlike Hannah Ritchie. In our ongoing effort not to be totally depressing, or snide, we want to mention this “data scientist” from Oxford who used to think “we’re all going to die from climate change” (her words not ours) but then wrote a book Not the End of the World about how, well, we’re not all going to die.
Of course first she genuflects and crosses herself: “To get this out of the way, let me make one thing absolutely clear: I’m not [a] climate change denialist or minimizer.” Heck no. Yuck. But then she puts forward seven arguments, some of them fairly trivial like a heat pump is better than a reusable straw or baffling like that organic food doesn’t help your carbon footprint (which presumably would be discouraging). But others like humans having overcome past environmental crises make more sense on a larger scale. And she thinks per capita emissions of CO2 have peaked and are going down, which would be nice if it were true and if CO2 were bad for the planet. And finally 1.5°C is not a tipping point.
As for us, our tipping point here is that if more people would stop running in circles screaming and shouting, realize their choices matter (another of her points) and look for positive things to do, it would certainly help alleviate the mental health crisis caused by people running in circles screaming and shouting. As for fixing warming, well, as we keep saying, since ECS is clearly below 2 it doesn’t matter whether what you do “works” because the net effect of any warming caused by CO2 is actually mildly positive.