Claim: Some People are Suffering Debilitating Eco-Anxiety – But their Fears are Justified

Essay by Eric Worrall

If you wanted to help someone suffering debilitating eco-anxiety, would your starting point be reinforcing their delusions by agreeing with them?

Climate change and extreme heat are making us more anxious

Published: August 11, 2022 4.50am AEST
Kiffer George Card
Assistant Professor in Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Globally, heat waves have become an increasingly frequent summer affair, as much of the world faces extremely high temperatures. 

The rising frequency and intensity of heat waves can trigger various forms of emotional distress affecting people’s mental health. One such emerging form of distress is eco-anxiety, which is defined by the American Psychological Association as the chronic fear of environmental doom that comes from observing climate change. In other words, people are worried about what a changing planet means for them and future generations. 

According to a landmark survey on eco-anxiety, 68 per cent of adults reported experiencing “at least a little eco-anxiety” and 48 per cent of young people report that climate change negatively affects their daily life and functioning.

As a social and behavioural epidemiologist, I study how environments — social and natural — influence individuals and their health. For example, recent research by my team at Simon Fraser University found that a small number of people experience debilitating levels of eco-anxiety that cause cognitive and functional impairments that limit their ability to live happy and healthy lives.

Eco-anxiety: climate change’s new coping mechanism

These worries are normal and even rational. We are connected to the land, air and water around us. So when our environments change, a primal sadness and worry is perfectly appropriate and perhaps even advantageous for survival.

As highlighted by last year’s IPCC report, the evidence showing that climate change causes greater frequency and intensity of extreme heat events is more certain than any other documented effect of climate change. Unfortunately, the same report predicts that global temperatures will continue to rise and their effects will worsen.

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In my opinion it is ridiculous to assert that “primal worry and sadness” is justified, even if you accept IPCC climate science at face value.

Look at all the predictions of climate disasters which have fallen flat, like the prediction the Great Barrier Reef will die – a claim which looks totally ridiculous in the light of the recent news of record coral cover.

Look at Al Gore’s silly polar ice prediction, or the grandaddy of global warming predictions, the 30 year old UN prediction that the world would end in 10 years. Guess what – we’re still here.

Or the fact the worst heatwaves in the instrumental record occurred in the 1930s, not in recent times. Or the massive fall in the number of deaths from weather related disasters, thanks to our fossil fuel wealth, which gives us better forecasting, planning, medical care and housing construction. Or the fact the Earth is measurably greening, as the ecosystem responds to global warming and CO2 fertilisation.

CO2 and global warming by every reasonable metric to date has been good for the health of our ecosystem, and good for humans.

Maybe people who are suffering climate panic to the point of debilitation are incapable of listening to or evaluating contrary evidence. But surely trying to talk them down from their state of debilitating panic has got to be a better plan than reinforcing their delusions, by telling them their fears are justified.

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Alexy Scherbakoff
August 10, 2022 6:05 pm

Is there a special name for being pissed off by this kind of BS?

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
August 10, 2022 7:39 pm

Not sure, but it might involve two words and one finger.

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
August 10, 2022 9:03 pm


Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
August 11, 2022 1:12 am

Probably a debilitating anxiety leading to an urge to kill…

Reply to  Alexy Scherbakoff
August 11, 2022 8:09 am

Yes, it’s called “common sense.”

August 10, 2022 6:07 pm

“It’s time to switch to whiskey, we’ve been drinking beer all night.” – Corb Lund

People who are afflicted with climate anxiety remind me of Wife 2.0.

She was a world-class hypochondriac; sometimes just to test the waters, we would make up symptoms of diseases that do not exist and describe them to her. She would then explain that she had had that disease.

Steve Case
Reply to  roaddog
August 10, 2022 6:18 pm

 “. . . we would make up symptoms of diseases that do not exist and describe them to her. She would then explain that she had had that disease.”

Factual or not, what a great analogy. +10

Reply to  Steve Case
August 10, 2022 8:07 pm

That’s a great point that had not even occurred to me. Living with it was exhausting.

joe x
Reply to  roaddog
August 11, 2022 5:26 am

the entire pharmaceutical drug ad campaign that has saturated tv, radio and magazines for the past 20 years, is designed to do exactly what you describe.

Reply to  joe x
August 11, 2022 9:17 am


Reply to  joe x
August 11, 2022 9:32 pm

Agreed. The internet was the worst thing that ever happened to her.

August 10, 2022 6:14 pm

Yeah, they should be afraid, but not suffering from eco-anxiety, but from deliberate cultural/economic destruction from their so-called leaders.

Last edited 1 month ago by beng135
Edward Katz
August 10, 2022 6:15 pm

If people listen too much to the mainstream media, they’ll find that as much as 80% of its environmental reporting is alarmist since chances are good that the big networks and publications are accepting under-the-table donations from the likes of Greenpeace and Sierra Club to spread the doom&gloom scenario. And when left-tilting governments are also on the take, they disseminate the hogwash even further. So it’s no wonder eco-anxiety has spread, except there’s one crucial mitigating factor. Being concerned about climate change is one thing; actually willing to accept new taxation and restrictions and making major lifestyle changes is another. That’s the reason that fossil fuels continue to dominate global energy generation and emissions keep rising.

Doc Chuck
Reply to  Edward Katz
August 11, 2022 12:39 am

Ruining people’s outlook is just unregretted collateral damage for those intent upon the pursuit of power over others, while they make a welcome market for their solutions to carefully contrived ‘needs’ as now perceived by so many, and most surely at their expense at that. An appealing cheap political abuse of your neighbors while pretending to be ever so deeply caring for their welfare only goes back as far as the founding account of the serpent’s pitch in Eden.

Joe Gordon
August 10, 2022 6:20 pm

Psychiatry has definitely taken a different approach to mental health these days. If a four-year-old boy asserts that despite all evidence to the contrary, he is either a girl, a fire truck or a kangaroo, a psychiatrist must immediately validate a set of new pronouns rather than assess the problem.

I suppose it’s one step ahead of the lobotomies and shock treatments of recent decades, but that’s definitely a profession that civilization would be better off without.

Reply to  Joe Gordon
August 11, 2022 12:31 am

Since it leads to sterilizing hormone treatments and the amputation of healthy organs it is not “one step ahead”; it is arguably worse. (I am ignoring the autogynephiles, who are just doing it for the jollies and don’t submit to much “treatment”.)

August 10, 2022 6:20 pm

Further evidence that the alarmists aren’t actually interested in helping people.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
August 10, 2022 8:09 pm

It’s clear that alarmists want most of us dead. I sincerely hope that every climate nutter has been vaccinated.

Reply to  roaddog
August 10, 2022 11:23 pm

Seeing that now, unsurprisingly, the people who are most like to catch c_v and get the sickest, and now lately tragically, die more often are the uber-vax`d and boosted people, so yeah I hope that they are all vx’d and boosted also.

August 10, 2022 6:28 pm

Snowflake melt in heat. Perhaps that’s the solution. More heat. Here the the great Pacific Northwest more heat would be really welcome. Coldest spring I’ve experienced in my 78 years of life.

Reply to  Terry
August 10, 2022 8:11 pm

We don’t really have spring here in Wyoming, but if experience tells me anything it is that weather is dramatically and predictably unpredictable, and linear extrapolations (climate models) are useless.

Reply to  roaddog
August 10, 2022 11:27 pm

Au contraire roaddog, they are very very useful in tuning for the maximal plausible AGW alarmist narrative enhancing output and then producing gloom and doom colorful reports and graphs for the media to batter the public with, and keep the Fear Fear Fear going!!! They are very useful for all that!!

Last edited 1 month ago by Deano
Gregory Woods
Reply to  roaddog
August 11, 2022 1:52 am

We have nothing to fear but the Fear-Mongers themselves…

John in Oz
August 10, 2022 6:30 pm

Eco anxiety is not from observing climate change but from the false reporting of climate doom.

Children are fed a steady diet of catastrophe but have not lived long enough to observe change.

Luke B
Reply to  John in Oz
August 10, 2022 9:35 pm

Or lived long to enough simply to see some variety.

Reply to  Luke B
August 10, 2022 11:47 pm

My favorite is snow in July.

Mark Whitney
Reply to  John in Oz
August 11, 2022 5:13 am

Those were my first thoughts as well. Seeking the uninformed and inexperienced for reference seems to be the progressive way.

August 10, 2022 8:36 pm

You know, if they put Xanax in the water, all this anxiety would disappear. Or stop writing fear porn about the weather continuously.

I went outside today. I didn’t see anything unusual about the weather.

Peta of Newark
Reply to  Doonman
August 10, 2022 9:03 pm

But there-in lies the problem -and it’s with the main stream media and whatever is propelling them (clicks for dollars basically)

In the UK right now, if folks do venture outside, they have been pre-programmed, by the MSM to *expect* and to observe ‘something unusual’
(A spell of warm weather is forecast)

So vast numbers of folks are out there looking.
According the law of averages, if even just one of them notices anything odd/unusual happening, thanks to the joys of modern tech and The Media, it will be All Over The World, like a bad rash within seconds

So that one little peculiarity will become the new norm, haha scientists will in turn, do their Bad Rash impression and use it to justify justify justify not only themselves, but also their $$$$ paymasters.

So it comes full circle.
= Positive Feedback fed by a mechanism (the MSM) that has a very high open loop gain.

Climate Change thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy ## and until someone pulls the plug on the ‘high gain mechanism’ will continue evermore

## Exactly what Eisenhower foresaw with crystal clarity

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 10, 2022 9:08 pm

Forgot to include the Met Office Assertion concerning our New Normal Climate – see attached

Met Office Warnings 11Aug22.PNG
Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 11, 2022 3:18 am

whats extreme heat? mid 30s?

Richard Page
Reply to  Doonman
August 11, 2022 4:36 am

It’s nice weather today, so nice in fact that my attractive neighbour is in her garden paddling pool in a tiny black bikini. Eco-anxiety, I don’t think so!

August 10, 2022 10:34 pm

The psychological approach is basically the opposite of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, perhaps you could call it Cognitive Behavioral Assault. People’s minds are being trained to catastrophize, they are being trained to be mad, and it’s working on many.

Reply to  MarkH
August 10, 2022 11:31 pm

And do you think for even one second that that is some kind of accident or coincidence??

Reply to  Deano
August 11, 2022 3:18 am

not for a picosecond
same as the pick a sex/gender idiocy

Reply to  Deano
August 11, 2022 4:42 pm

None of what is happening now is an accident, it’s all carefully planned. And Hanlon’s Razor does not apply, the people behind this know full well what the outcome will be. The outcome is the reason that they are doing it.

August 10, 2022 11:01 pm

The way I see it is the wackier and more hysterical they get the better off the cause of us realists will be in the long run.

Do you think that Greta really has helped them?
Do you think that the wackos gluing themselves to paintings and roads and doing all kinds of other things to disrupt the lives of everyday citizens are helping their cause?
Do you think the academics making all kinds of wild claims about the deadly climate of the future helps them?

I don’t! Just like I think the deep state has damaged itself by the raid on Mar-a-logo even though I suspect that was a defensive operation to try and get back documents that would be damning evidence concerning Cross-fire-Hurricane.

It is all a bridge too far and destructive to their objectives IMO.

August 10, 2022 11:18 pm
August 11, 2022 12:55 am

If I had a billion dollars to spare, I would flood the media with ads stressing all the failed predictions, deliberate glossing over of simple contrary facts, the inescapable reality of why solar and wind cost more and destabilize power grids, and sum up with inconvenient questions like “If climate science is settled, why do climate scientists demand billions more in taxpayer funding?”

Pound it in, daily, until the nonsense stops. No insults, no name calling, no sensationalism about Mann’s lies. Simple 30 second ads focused on simple examples, keeping the technicalities to a minimum. Put the alarmunists on the defensive, day after day, never let up, get people to talking about the basic simple stuff, put the onus on the alarmunists to refute basic facts.

Probably a good thing I don’t have a spare billion 🙂

Reply to  Felix
August 11, 2022 2:07 am

I suspect a lot of the media would refuse to run your ads.

Reply to  rah
August 11, 2022 3:18 am

I’m not so sure. They are whores (with apologies to a very hard-working bunch of girls), so if offered enough money they would swallow their “pride”.

Reply to  rah
August 11, 2022 9:16 am

Well, “spare billion” really means enough to run as many ads as possible … so much that only the DNC newsletter and Michael Mann’s blog would refuse some of that sweet money.

August 11, 2022 1:15 am

Isn’t it time we just gave these snowflakes a good slap? Maybe if they had some actual, real-life problems to deal with they might gain a little perspective.

joe x
August 11, 2022 5:46 am

be patient andy, soon these real life problems you speak of are going to hit the snowflakes in the forehead like a sledgehammer. and i personally will enjoy watching.

August 12, 2022 10:18 am

They don’t even have “first-world” problems so they have to come up with new ones. But as joe says, they’re going to have plenty of real problems before long.

Bruce Cobb
August 11, 2022 1:23 am

I have two simple words for the overwrought eco-anxious, and they are both powerful and life-changing:

August 11, 2022 1:29 am

The increase in average summer temperatures in the UK in the last 100 years is akin to the difference between Sheffield and Birmingham, a distance of about 100 miles.

Does anybody who moves from Sheffield to Birmingham experience eco-anxiety?

August 11, 2022 4:25 am

The whole media fired panic thing re: climate anything negative is just a continuous loop of the “chicken little” story amplified by the folks who want to have big bucks(without really working at a useful job) and having power over those folks considered the unwashed masses.
In short, its a religion, or a cult, much like any other belief system. No actual evidence, science based facts and such, proving the existence of whatever the con is at the moment.
Hot or cold? Just change a few things around and go for more grants. It’s all about the money and power, all else is irrelevant.

Geoff Sherrington
August 11, 2022 4:53 am

Aspro K.G. Card writes of “The rising frequency and intensity of heat waves … ”
Here, in a series id 128 graphs, is the raw and adjusted data for 8 of the largest cities of Australia, with a couple to fill in the geography. Knock yourselves out, trying to find any robust evidence that in these 8 cities, housing over 70% of Australian population..
These are ‘original’ forms of data, devoid of cherry picking, devoid of special definitions of heatwaves, using only Tmax daily numbers from the official BOM files. I have not even taken UHI out of the numbers.
Show me a pattern of heatwaves rising in frequency and intensity, if you can.
Generally, when there is little or no signal in original data, there is not much point in proceeding to torture the data.
Geoff S

michael hart
August 11, 2022 5:11 am

“One such emerging form of distress is eco-anxiety, which is defined by the American Psychological Association as the chronic fear of environmental doom that comes from observing climate change”

Not really, no. The patients are frequently not even old enough to have observed climate change. And most those who are old enough don’t observe it anyway. What they do, is read inaccurate media reports about it.

Having said that, the American Psychological Association has probably done us all a favour by reporting it as a definable mental disease.

Matt Kiro
Reply to  michael hart
August 11, 2022 9:07 am

More likely it is from watching the media and all they show is tragedy. Floods, fires, heat waves. It never occurs to these people that these things happen annually. What would be problematic is there werent any floods or forest fires in the world.

Tom Abbott
August 11, 2022 6:21 am

From the article: “The rising frequency and intensity of heat waves”

There’s no evidence for this. They start the article right off with an unsubstantiated assertion.

The evidence shows heat waves are not rising in frequency and intensity.

Heat waves happen every summer. There’s no evidence the current heat waves are any worse than the ones in the past. And there is no evidence CO2 has any connection to the frequency or intensity of heat waves.

Andy Pattullo
August 11, 2022 11:14 am

As a physician and Associate Professor of Medicine I am ashamed of what passes for academics these days. This isn’t rare, it isn’t even mildly unusual. This is what academics has largely become – dishonest propaganda for a cause where any academic activity is just a smokescreen to support a favoured agenda.

August 11, 2022 7:57 pm

I understand your premise, Eric, but I disagree with trying to talk these fruitcases down off the perch. I say give them a length of rope with a pre-made noose and help them on their way. Anyone screwed up enough to be afraid of something that isn’t happening, is not rational and will likely only get worse.

Pat from kerbob
August 11, 2022 8:34 pm

Reminds me of a story I read out of Winnipeg years ago. A woman who was always complaining of medical issue to do with herbicides and pesticides was a major pain in the butt.
One day the city got a brand new spray truck, never been used. So the city guys filled it with pure water and went spraying in her neighborhood. Sure enough within 12 hours she was filing complaints with the city over all the new problems she’d developed since the spraying.
She would not accept that it was just water.

Insane is insane. It’s immune to reason

August 12, 2022 10:06 am

It’s worse than we thought – June 29th was 1.59ms shorter which is triggering more climate anxiety:

“For many, these new findings — coupled with the severe heat we’ve been experiencing around the world and the extreme flooding in Kentucky and Missouri — are triggering feelings of climate anxiety.”

August 12, 2022 12:03 pm

First they set up this 24/7 communications system and then they flood you with propaganda 24/7 to control your mind and we wonder why we have so many wackos . If we all put down the damn phones and turn off the TV we wouldn’t notice anything wrong with the weather or climate because nothing is wrong to notice. Without lies they have nothing. So put it down for 3 days and find out how much better you feel after some real human contract.

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