Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The American Psychological Association has published a long rambling paper on climate stress, which amongst other things includes a bizarre claim that use of public transport can help alleviate psychological disorders.
MENTAL HEALTH AND OUR CHANGING CLIMATE: IMPACTS, IMPLICATIONS, AND GUIDANCE
Direct experience with and future unknown e ects of climate change can cause children to exhibit symptoms of PTSD, such as phobic behavior, panic, nightmares, and anxiety.
Climate solutions are available now, are widespread, and support psychological health. Increasing adoption of active commuting, public transportation, green spaces, and clean energy are all solutions that people can choose to support and integrate into their daily lives. These climate solutions, among others, can help to curb the stress, anxiety, and other mental illnesses incurred from the decline of economies, infrastructure, and social identity that comes from damage to the climate.
Other interesting hilights;
A PARTISAN ISSUE
Politically polarized in the United States, climate change is perceived as an issue that belongs with the political left (Dunlap, McCright, & Yarosh, 2016), which can suppress belief and concern and discussions about solutions. For example, of the 36% of Americans who are personally concerned a great deal about climate issues, 72% are Democrats, and 27% are Republicans (Pew Research Center, 2016). Political orientation can make open conversations about climate impacts and solutions di cult, and make those who are concerned about climate change feel isolated or paranoid in some circles (Geiger & Swim, 2016).
UNCERTAINTY AND DENIAL
People feel uncertain about the threat of climate change and how to minimize the damage. The media have been criticized for promoting an inaccurate perception of climate change (Antilla, 2005): for example, that there is more scienti c controversy about climate change than actually exists. In some cases, information that increases perceptions of the reality of climate change may feel so frightening that it leads to denial and thus a reduction in concern and support for action (McDonald et al., 2015).
Public transportation invigorates community mental health.
Moving people from individual cars to public transit also results in lower greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, several studies have shown that using public transportation leads to an increase in community cohesion, recreational activities, neighborhood walkability, and reduced symptoms of depression and stress associated with less driving and more exercise (Allen, 2008; Appleyard, 1981; Bell & Cohen, 2009; Berke, Gottlieb, Vernez Moudon, & Larson, 2007; Wener & Evens, 2007 as cited in Litman, 2010).
Aggression and violence
The psychological impacts of warmer weather on aggression and violence have been extensively studied. Lab-based experiments and eld-based surveys have demonstrated a causal relationship between heat and aggression (Anderson, 2001; Simister & Cooper, 2005). In other words, as the temperature goes up, so does aggression.
Read more: Same link as above
Of all the assertions, the strangest claim has got to be the claim about public transport. My stress levels tend to skyrocket when my car is out of action. No doubt this stress is exacerbated by unpleasant public transport experiences.
Last time I rode the bus, I inadvertently sat on a very wet bus seat. Lets just say it wasn’t raining outdoors.