Grieving environmental scientists need support


  1. Timothy A. C. Gordon1,*,
  2. Andrew N. Radford2,
  3. Stephen D. Simpson1

See all authors and affiliations

Science 11 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6462, pp. 193
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz2422

Embedded Image


Rates of environmental destruction are greater today than at any previous point in human history (1). This loss of valued species, ecosystems, and landscapes triggers strong grief responses in people with an emotional attachment to nature (2). However, environmental scientists are presented with few opportunities to address this grief professionally.

Environmental scientists tend to respond to degradation of the natural world by ignoring, suppressing, or denying the resulting painful emotions while at work (3). The risks that this entails are profound. Emotional trauma can substantially compromise self-awareness, imagination, and the ability to think coherently (4). As Charles Darwin put it, one “who remains passive when overwhelmed with grief loses [the] best chance of recovering elasticity of mind” (5).

Academic institutes must allow environmental scientists to grieve well and thus emerge stronger from traumatic experiences to discover new insights about our rapidly changing world. Much can be learned from other professions in which distressing circumstances are commonplace, such as health care, disaster relief, law enforcement, and the military. In these fields, well-defined organizational structures and active strategies exist for employees to anticipate and manage their emotional distress (6). Effective systems can facilitate healthy grieving processes, enhance psychological recovery, and reduce the risk of long-term mental health impacts, potentially leading to better practice, decision-making, and resilience in future periods of trauma (710). Improved psychosocial working environments for scientists might include systematic training of employees, early-intervention debriefing after disturbing events, social support from colleagues and managers, and therapeutic counseling.

Full *cough cough* article here.

HT/Walter S

106 thoughts on “Grieving environmental scientists need support

  1. So all of these “scientists” believe its only co2 which is destroying the planet? Not the mass amount of plastic, industrial pollution? Or how about natural weather systems? The u.n., al gore and the co2 seeing puppet have ruined common sense, logic and true education.

    • This is all getting so out of hand. Reading that stuff, it looks like “feelings” type stuff aimed at school kids. Just plain weird. But there is a history here too.
      All the scientists agree, they are all together.
      Message – You should agree too. Do not disagree.
      The Scientists are Frightened and Depressed, and they know best.
      Message – You should be frightened and depressed, too.

      Now that this drivel has been published, it will be cited over and over as another example of how much worse than we thought things really are.
      This is some very twisted stuff going on, here.
      Times Have Changed.

      • We’ve been playing this stupid game of scaring the crap out of our kids long enough that some of them have “grown up” (ok, at least aged to what used to be called adulthood), and the poor dear snowflakes just can’t handle the strain.

        In their opinion, this is obviously the worst existential threat ever faced by mankind.

        I’m an old goat; I remember learning to hide under my desk in the event of nuclear war. Every generation (even snowflakes) has their “worst ever…” stories.

        • Javert Chip, “I’m an old goat” evidently with a good memory. I am still accumulating data at 73 and , yes, I remember in the first grade in Los Angeles having Atomic Bomb attack drills: get under your desk, curl up and try very hard to figure out what the crazy adults (?) were so worked up about. I seems that scaring hell out of kids is still with us, just the details have changed.

        • Scaring children goes back a long way. Hellfire and eternal damnation if you even thought bad thoughts, mental detirioration and blindness if you touched your ‘thing’, ‘God is watching you’ and so on. In poor countries, the cattle might die or the rain not come if you do not keep to the line and obey your parents. Evil beings inhabit the dark.

          Children are little savages that need to be tamed, and every culture I can think of has used scare tactics to some extent. With Rousseau comes the notion that children are made of sugar and spice to be carefully nurtured. I suspect that this is the way that snowflakes are created. Now that children spend the major part of the day with teachers who are not allowed to discipline them or scare them about most of the traditional scare item, Climate Scaring can be a useful tactic to control the little savages. ‘Good’ children are taught to take home the message, and parents without scientific knowledge have to bow to the teachers. Children can even use the message to gain power – eg, Mummy, you must not put that in the garbage or you will wreak the planet.

          It is all about control, and whatever the current message, teachers and parents will use it to scare children, and many children internalize the message. It is probable that kids in the Bible Belt are less into climate because hellfire is still part of the school curriculum.

        • I still remember the indoctrination to and I always thought it was odd or silly. If we get hit by a great big bomb what good is hiding under the desk going to do? We’d all obviously be blown to smithereens anyway.

          • OK, I’m way behind here, but I can’t let this pass, I remember the “bomb-drills”, and talking about everybody swing your chair out the same way so you don’t collide with your neighbor and slow them down. And I too questioned, how is this going to help any? It’s not like the bomb is going to go off inside the building, it’s going to go off outside. So the roof of any building will provide way more protection than any flimsy old desk, I had seen desks collapse under the weight of a second grader, and a roof would at least hold up a grown man without collapsing. And if the roof failed to hold up to the bomb, the weight of it collapsing was going to smush both me and my flimsy little desk like a bug. I think I resolved, if there was ever an actual bomb drop, I was going to sit in my chair at my desk and watch everyone else make fools of themselves, and afterwards we’d all share a good laugh about it. Or not. We’d all see the same fate either way.

      • “This loss of valued species, …”

        Ah yes, that tired old falsehood about the accelerated loss of species – but the alarmists typically cannot name any.

        There certainly IS the loss of one highly valued species, and that is the loss of intelligent human beings.

        These blighted souls, members of the aptly named AAAS, are seriously deficient in scientific objectivity and emotional stability.

        “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.”
        – Albert Einstein

      • Very twisted indeed. Just when you think it couldn’t get any more perverse it does. Thank goodness for WUWT so that scientists who feel the world is sliding into madness have a place to go for support.

    • The so called scientists clearly believe evolution has reached perfection in the world today.
      No more evolutionary changes allowed during their watch.

    • Could not agree more. The climate changes naturally. Yes we are contributing. How much ? Debatable. Oceans rise and fall as well as ice ages come and go. This has been going on for millions of years. I believe we will poison the planet so badly that the chain of life will snap and collapse. Mother earth will go on and other life will rise and eventually the earth will recover. We will be long gone. What will be left of human kind to show future species we even existed? Plastic garbage. Humans have to stop breeding like roaches and consuming like pigs and creating mountains of garbage or big momma earth will get rid of us like a bad case of fleas.

    • Don’t jump to conclusions. You may think the notion of grieving over the environment is silly, but the summary at least (I didn’t read the linked article, I confess) doesn’t mention climate change at all, much less CO2. It’s more about environment loss.

      I can think of many places where man is causing changes that I don’t like. Where I live, there are nicely treed entrances ramps (cloverleafs) to freeways. Some of them are full of trash; some are not. I suspect, but don’t know, that the cleaner ones are because somebody has gone in and picked up the trash. You don’t have to be a tree hugger to appreciate the clean up, and to wish people wouldn’t throw trash (or it wouldn’t fall off of trucks, I don’t know how it gets there).

      I’m also a trail runner, and I very much appreciate trails. Awhile back, someone decided to put a tollway across a lot of nice areas. I wish they hadn’t.

      There’s a church behind our house; we’re separated from their parking lot by a strip of trees maybe 50 feet wide. Awhile back, the boundary markers behind our house and several others were flagged. I hope it’s’ not because the church is going to expand its parking lot, because I’d rather not look out my back windows at a parking lot, and because we enjoy the song birds (not to mention a fox, rabbits and so forth) that live in those woods. They won’t if the trees get cut down. (BTW, I’m a regular church attender, so this is not an anti-church thing.)

      I could go on, but you get the idea. Most of us–I think–enjoy the outdoors. But it seems like it’s getting smaller each year. Every time they built a new house in the neighborhood I grew up in, my father used to say “It’s gettin’ too darn civilized around here.” I think I feel the same.

        • I don’t care for huge windmills either, but did you ever drive through Gary Indiana during the 60s? Pollution there (and probably other steel mill cities) was terrible. There are worse things than windmills.

          • The first time I saw Gary Indiana was in 1974. The smoke billowing into the sky was pink. I couldn’t believe it.

  2. They should thank their lucky stars they didn’t become veterinarians.
    Would they ever be able to live with themselves if they had to euthanize L’l Greta’s pet puppy that just got run over by a silent electric car it didn’t hear coming?

  3. “This loss of valued species, ecosystems, and landscapes triggers strong grief responses in people with an emotional attachment to nature. However, environmental scientists are presented with few opportunities to address this grief professionally”

    An admission of the obvious that climate science, like all eco wacko silent spring tree hugger “science” is not objective scientific inquiry but an emotional and biased search for the assumed unnatural and anti nature destructiveness of human beings.

    • I keep wondering if there’s a “Star Trek” style “parallel universe” running around nearby that these knotheads are living in. Really. It’s like we’re watching, as Scott Adams says, two totally different movies.

      I’d really like to know where all this “extinction destruction” is taking place. Show us the bodies . . .

    • That’s what happens when people are tutored to emotionalize and ’empathize’ with every darn thing in the world.
      The latest hobgoblin of control is emotionalism, and the spearhead is telling people they’re bad if they will not ’empathize’ with everyone and everything.
      So all you scientist are depressed, so head up North and talk to a few farmers who have lost income and crops due to the change in the weather/climate up there. Then come home and feel better about living in your insular academic ivory towers.

      • The cultural marxists want to foster emotional weakness, which makes the populace less resilient & self-reliant, more dependent & easily scared & thus controlled.

  4. If some people are so stupid as to tilt at windmills, pun intended, then they deserve what results to their mental well being.

    Any feelings of sorrow should be directed at those who are suffering as a result of the actions of such stupid people, but certainly one should not feel sorry for them.

    And my favourite saying, “”As ye sow, so shall ye reap””.


  5. Free therapy in China for the whole lot. Environmentalists have been on a long march to destroy political and economic freedom. They should be very happy in the loving arms of the CPC.

  6. There is no doubts these scientists need psychiatric help . They have some mental incapacity in seeing the world as it really is , a type of climate autism.

    • Oh, they haven’t exactly been grant money deficient. The problem is that even all the filthy lucre can’t replace the existential ennui over decades of a singly granted lifetime wasted in guilty confabulation that in the end leaves them nothing of value to show for it. Such a life is a indeed a sorry thing to contemplate and a compassionate part of my motivation to get the truth out and curtail this malady is even for their benefit.

  7. I suggest electroshock therapy, drug therapy, strong sedation and confinement to a padded cell where all contact with the outside world is cut off. After 50 years they can then be re-assessed for a move to a regular cell.

  8. “Much can be learned from other professions in which distressing circumstances are commonplace, such as health care, disaster relief, law enforcement, and the military.”

    They are equating the emotional stress of being an “environmental scientist” with those who must deal with real life death and destruction on a routine basis?

    These people are a waste of the paper they exist on.

      • ProTip: Buy Pfizer (NYSE: PFE)

        The Xanax™ maker.
        Alprozalam is the world’s best selling anti-anxiety med.

        • I was going through a very bad patch leading up to December 2012. I was a broken man. Later divorced. I saw my GP and was prescribed some anti-deps, I “thought” would help. They didn’t. In the list of potential “side affects”, which I found elsewhere, not with the product of GP, I found I was “suffering” almost all of the listed “side affects”. I stopped taking the drugs in 2016, and I still suffer some side effects. Stooped taking other drugs too for same.

          My advise is, go to your GP, get advice, but research the drugs they prescribe. You will be surprised.

  9. One questions whether they ever had this ability in the first place.

    “the ability to think coherently”

  10. “This loss of valued species, …”

    – objective evidence, please

    “… ecosystems, …”

    – again, objective evidence, please

    “… and landscapes triggers strong grief responses in people with an emotional attachment to nature …”

    The only loss of valued landscapes is having to look at wind-turbine farms or fields of solar panels, instead of nature.

  11. CAGW alarmism has done a lot of damage. Among other things, it has wiped out the credibility of the environmental movement.

    I no longer trust ‘environmentalists’. I am not alone, in fact I strongly suspect that most people also do not trust environmentalists.

    • Every month or so I check in on the Gallup poll, the nation’s most important problem. link I am disturbed that the number of people indicating that ‘environment/pollution/climate’ is creeping up. The latest figure is 6%.

      This month I checked environment related trends. For these trends, the pollsters asked people direct questions about various issues. Generally, the population favors more intervention and regulations. When the rubber hits the road is when they are asked about,

      Setting legal limits on the amount of energy that average consumers can use?

      People are 2:1 against that one. link

      If we want to counter environmental BS, we have to find a way to make people understand how much increased regulation and wastage of government money will cost them personally.

      People are all for anything that sounds nice until it requires that they, personally, make a significant sacrifice.

      • Join ‘em. Demand the closures of Disneyworld, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood, and national and international pro sports for the totally unnecessary use of energy, and the production if huge carbon footprints.

        Let’s start Gore-ing the oxes of some of these advocates.

    • I haven’t trusted the modern breed of environmentalist for 30 years. Once they get an eco-idea into their heads you would find it easier to reason with a rottweiler than to shift it. A friend of mine summed it up neatly many years ago, “these are the guys who taught Nixon how to lie.”

  12. “Rates of environmental destruction are greater today than at any previous point in human history (1)”

    Everything gets extinct. It’s just a matter of when and human history is very brief and the score keeping on this is faulty.

  13. “Emotional trauma can substantially compromise self-awareness, imagination, and the ability to think coherently.”

    This really does explain a lot!

    • There seem to be a lot of studies demonstrating that various kinds of shock can reduce a person’s IQ a lot. example When you get a big shock, like a massive car repair bill, it’s a good idea to avoid reacting immediately. That could keep you from making a stupid, serious mistake. Don’t let people railroad you into doing things when you are in a weakened state.

      • More than once I’ve seen someone experience a brain freeze when confronted with an unexpected problem. I’ve found that the magic words are, “Wait, let’s think about this.” A simple solution almost always presents itself.

  14. “Rates of environmental destruction are greater today than at any previous point in human history”

    Possibly in certain parts of the world, but the US is much cleaner than it used to be 40 and more years ago.

    • Oh, but every lot that is cleared to build a new home is environmental destruction. The position they are taking is, “We have what we need, but the environment is more important than you’re having your similar needs met.”

      I have my house. You should not build yours.
      We have electricity. You should not build power plants.
      We have cleared our lands to grow our food. You should not clear you land to grow yours.

  15. “Grieving environmental scientists need support”…..$$$$…..Need to hide the decline in cash that is! Give anyone one of them millions in research grants, for an already settled Science, watch their spirits climb.

  16. It appears that the purported response to the stress felt by climate activists is to rehash their experience with professional guidance. There is some literature that suggest, that rehashing and rehashing a bad experience ingrains that experience such that the thought persists long after the emotional impact has dissipated. This leads to “blockage” regarding the ability to move on: ie, people become “stuck” at least emotionally. The key to a healthy mind is to be able to refocus on some positive issue so that the negativity generated by constant worry about environment etc, will lessen. Unfortunately, such a strategy presumes a healthy mind in the first place, which may not always be the case.

  17. From the article: “This loss of valued species, ecosystems, and landscapes triggers strong grief responses in people with an emotional attachment to nature”

    Some people get upset thinking about the damage being done to species, ecosystems and landscapes by windmill farms.

  18. The poor wee mites – God bless their wee (environmentally harvested) cotton socks: oh there goes Chicken Little!)

  19. According to the article:

    “Emotional trauma can substantially compromise self-awareness, imagination, and the ability to think coherently”

    Well… if your typical climate scientist has experienced severe emotional trauma and therefore “can’t think coherently”, has no imagination, and has substantially compromised self-awareness .

    1) What are the odds this “trauma” didn’t come before their research activities?
    2) What are the odds their unconvincing “evidence” of climate change isn’t a symptom of trauma?
    3) And, regardless of 1 or 2, why should anyone believe what their saying now?

    Look at from this perspective, the authors are essentially saying climate scientist are mentally ill.

  20. I noticed her Dad was eating a banana.
    Does he realize what it takes to get a banana to Canada in an edible condition?

    • Sorry about this repeat of my above comment. Don’t know how that happened.
      (The context is Grrrrreta’s Dad eating a banana while in Canada in a video above.)

  21. In what other area of life should you believe someone just because they’re “traumatized”?
    The cure for their “trauma” is to return to a dispassionate approach to the application of the scientific method in the field of climate “science”.
    They do that and there’ll be no trauma and their contributions to climate “science” will loose the quotation marks.

  22. “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority. but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane”
    attributed to Marcus Aurelius , (121-180AD)

    • this.
      I am sure appropriate funding will improve their health in a blink of an eye, until next fiscal year.

  23. The first sentence of the article:

    Rates of environmental destruction are greater today than at any previous point in human history (1).

    The reference:

    Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines. Gerardo Ceballos, Paul R. Ehrlich, and Rodolfo

    That middle author….where have I seen his name before?

  24. I stopped reading after the first sentence, after I took the link to reference (1) and found that one of the co-authors of the referenced paper was Paul R. Ehrlich. Science is an entirely honest process; Ehrlich openly countenances the use of dishonesty; therefore Ehrlich has no credibility as a scientist.

    I’m still waiting for someone to name a species to whose extinction I have contributed, along with specific details of what I did to contribute to the extinction, and when I did it.

    Without such a detailed accusation, and the opportunity to confirm or deny those details for myself, I will never accept any guilt for species extinction or any other claimed environmental “problem.”

  25. These biologists clearly do not like evolution.
    Their world is perfect right now.
    No more changes or extinctions of plant or animal species
    are allowed in their perfect world.
    They might even want to back the dinosaurs or other essential species.

  26. They have scared the kids so long that they now are becoming victims of there own scare stories.

  27. I have environmental PTSD! It’s from listening to lies, non-stop lies, from activists determined to destroy our way of life! I am very depressed that if we do not undo the damages that CO2 activists are promulgating my children will end up living in a totalitarian state and they will have to declare war on the state to better their lives and the cycle of loos of life and strife will begin anew. Sadly my kids are among the brainwashed and despite my attempts at de-programming, they are persisting in doubts Of course the reality of totalitarian states cannot survive as history clearly shows but they can exact a tremendous toll on the humanity who live in the way of their greed and inevitably unconscionable actions.

  28. “What is the Rust Belt and how did it affect American cities?

    Rust Belt States 2019. The term “Rust Belt” is a term used to describe areas in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions of the United States.

    This is a derogatory term used to describe areas where there is an economic decline, urban decay, high rates of poverty, and a drop in population due to deindustrialization. Aug 28, 2019”

Comments are closed.