Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Dr. Willie Soon; According to experts interviewed by the BBC, its important to provide parents worried about eco-doom with a safe space to talk about their darkest thoughts, even thoughts about murdering their children, otherwise they just bottle up these feelings and repress them.
The harm from worrying about climate change
By Christine Ro
10th October 2019
Worry about climate change is affecting more people as global warming becomes more apparent around the world. But there is a solution that can help improve this anxiety and slow climate breakdown at the same time, writes Christine Ro.
In one study of a programme called Carbon Conversations, which involves group discussion and activity to reduce climate impacts, half of participants said that the programme helped them face their worries about climate change. And greater emotional engagement was associated with more change in habits. This showed the linked benefits of feeling part of a community, reckoning with difficult feelings, and taking constructive measures.
This kind of research has been put into practice at New York University’s Environmental Health Clinic, which prescribes climate-friendly actions and group activities to its visitors. “There’s less space for anxiety emotionally when you take practical steps,” Hickman notes.
This is true even for extreme feelings. Hickman has counselled parents who fantasise about killing their children, out of fear of the climate-ravaged future. But she calmly points out that history is rife with examples of parents preparing to end their children’s lives in order to protect them. “If we disallow those feelings, we’re just driving them back into the unconscious,” Hickman argues.
The parents who confess these dark thoughts to her aren’t actually going to act on them, she believes, and it’s important for them to have a safe, shame-free mental space to express the depth of their anxiety. Psychotherapy and other psychology tools can help people become more comfortable with the uncertainty that is inevitable when it comes to climate change.
“One of the routes through the anxiety is to engage with your grief and your sense of loss,” Hickman says.
…Read more: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20191010-how-to-beat-anxiety-about-climate-change-and-eco-awareness
History has plenty of examples of people who believed in crazy actually acting out their nightmares, like the Jonestown mass suicide, in which 605 adults fed cyanide to 304 children and then themselves, so I’m not sure I share Hickman’s optimism that the climate worrier parents he treats will never act on their murderous impulses.