Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Making Children Crazy over Climate Change

You would think that therapists and their satraps in the media would be more concerned with treating mental distress and less concerned with producing it.

And yet, this Guardian story, about the oncoming wave of climate change anxiety, shows that mental health professionals have gotten into the business of feeding the social contagion and generalized anxiety disorder about the climate change apocalypse.

Dare I say, we need to read between the lines to extract this observation. The Guardian story does not say so explicitly. But clearly, mental health professionals know nothing about climate science. They have latched on to a dogma and are disseminating it as scientific fact. Having long since disembarrassed themselves of the notion that they are healing anyone of anything, they have become culture warriors, whose goal is to heal Mother Nature. 

Their prescription for climate change anxiety is direct political action to save the planet. Throw away plastic straws and you will feel better. Divest from fossil fuel companies and you will feel better. Bow down to Greta Thunberg and you will feel better. Vote for the Green Party and you will feel better.

If it were a mere caricature, I would be slightly comforted, but the truth is, this is the face of therapy in Great Britain. 

Here is the story:

The physical impact of the climate crisis is impossible to ignore, but experts are becoming increasingly concerned about another, less obvious consequence of the escalating emergency – the strain it is putting on people’s mental wellbeing, especially the young.

Psychologists warn that the impact can be debilitating for the growing number of people overwhelmed by the scientific reality of ecological breakdown and for those who have lived through traumatic climate events, often on the climate frontline in the global south..

It isn’t just uneducated adults and high school dropout celebrities. It’s afflicting the young:

When [psychologist] Kennedy-Williams began focusing on young people he assumed most would be older teenagers or at least have started secondary school. But he soon discovered worrying levels of environment-related stress and anxiety in much younger children.

“What I was most surprised by is how young the awareness and anxiety starts. My own daughter was just six when she came to me and said: ‘Daddy, are we winning the war against climate change?’ and I was just flummoxed by that question in the moment. It really showed me the importance as a parent of being prepared for the conversation, so we can respond in a helpful way.”

One ought to see this as a cultural symptom. Small children are being brainwashed into believing that the world is coming to an end. Might it not have crossed the good therapist’s mind that these children know nothing about science or climate science? And might it not have crossed his mind that the media mayhem about climate change is producing mental illness?

Since it is all very good for his business, he has not given that side of the issue the least thought. He has decided that he should recruit a band of culture warriors to repeal the Industrial Revolution, thereby to change the world:

A key moment for Kennedy-Williams came with the realisation that tackling “climate anxiety” and tackling the climate crisis were intrinsically linked.

“The positive thing from our perspective as psychologists is that we soon realised the cure to climate anxiety is the same as the cure for climate change – action. It is about getting out and doing something that helps.

“Record and celebrate the changes you make. Nobody is too small. Make connections with other people and at the same time realise that you are not going to cure this problem on your own. This isn’t all on you and it’s not sustainable to be working on solving climate change 24/7.”

Down with therapy. Up with political activism. Among the leaders is an Australian treehugger named Clover Hogan. It feels like fate... after all, she was named for vegetation. Clover feels deeply for the natural world and has decided to become a cult follower at the altar of the Great Natural Mother Goddess:

This certainly resonates with [Clover] Hogan, who has set up Force of Nature, an initiative aimed at helping young people realise their potential to create change.

Hogan’s group aims to target people aged 11-24 with a crash course in the climate crisis that helps them navigate their anxiety and realise their potential to get involved, take action and make a stand.

“This is only the beginning,” said Hogan. “We’re going to see massive, massive widespread climate crisis in every country around the world, so it’s about developing the emotional resilience to carry on, but in a way that ignites really dramatic individual initiative.”

Beyond climate anxiety – the fear that the current system is pushing the Earth beyond its ecological limits – experts are also warning of a sharp rise in trauma caused by the experience of climate-related disasters.

Now, British clinical psychologists are up in arms… and trolling for new business:

More than 1,000 clinical psychologists have signed an open letter highlighting the impact of the crisis on people’s wellbeing and predicting “acute trauma on a global scale in response to extreme weather events, forced migration and conflict”.

Kaaren Knight, a clinical psychologist who coordinated the letter, said: “The physical impacts related to extreme weather, food shortages and conflict are intertwined with the additional burden of mental health impacts and it is these psychologists are particularly concerned about.”

She added that fear and trauma “significantly reduced psychological wellbeing”, particularly in children. “This is of huge concern to us and needs to be part of the conversation when we talk about climate breakdown.”

Amusingly, or perhaps not so amusingly, hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists wrote a letter to the United Nations last September explaining that the hysteria was seriously overblown. In a sane world people would study both sides of the issue. They would evaluate the evidence and seek out a balanced judgment.

In Great Britain, therapists can do none else but to feed the hysteria and produce a generation of dysfunctional culture warriors.


UbuMaccabee said...

If you take the emotion of contempt and use it as a fuel to drive reason inward far enough, you reach a point where observing these fools is like watching old, silent movies. You never hear a word they are saying and their pantomimed gestures and exaggerated expressions become a curiosity, even an amusing one for short periods of time, like, for example, the length of the average dinner party. I have no interest in what happens to their children, that's not going to be my problem. The earth is fine, we are nuts. In the end, we're all just food for the earth, mud to stop up a hole in the wall.

Just a tactical response, not a strategy.

Sam L. said...

"Dare I say, we need to read between the lines to extract this observation." All they "know" is what they read in the newspapers and hear from the newsreaders. Soooo, almost
99.44% misinformation, when it isn't all lies.

The Climate: It's been changing ever since the Earth first got an atmosphere. I'm cool with that.