Eco-grief a burden for some

These credulous people deserve little sympathy.  Instead of wailing about a theoretical future they would a do lot more good agitating for measures that might make a real environmental difference -- such as agitating for more preventive measures against forest fires -- such as regular off-season back- burning

And I am always delighted to hear that the fears and grief of such people deter them from having children. It helps to improve the gene pool as far as I can see

The planet has heated by 1.1 degrees and Australia’s land mass has warmed by an average of 1.4 degrees since 1910, according to the CSIRO.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate change last year issued a “code red for humanity”. The group’s most recent report on March 1 said climate change will cost Australia’s economy hundreds of billions of dollars in coming decades.

Various terms have been coined to describe the psychological distress which accompanies climate change. There’s climate anxiety and eco-anxiety, as well as solastalgia (from the Latin “solacium” for comfort and the Greek root “-algia” for pain, coined by philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2003 to describe a “homesickness you have when you are still at home”).

Although its use dates back to the 1940s, perhaps the most apt term for the modern state of affairs is “eco-grief”.

“That’s the grief that people are feeling as we watch our planet die around us,” explains Dr Kate Wylie, chair of the Royal Australian College of GPs’ climate and environmental medicine group.

Wylie says GPs are seeing an increase in people of all ages presenting with psychological distress they attribute to concern for the climate.

“One of the interesting things about it is not really an anxiety disorder: it’s an extremely rational response. It makes sense to be sad,” Wylie says.

In its position statement on climate change, the Australian Psychological Society says it believes the phenomenon “involves serious and irreversible harm to the environment and to human health and psychological wellbeing”.

Concern for the climate becomes climate anxiety when it interrupts a person’s life.

The climate crisis has led some young people to reconsider what their futures should look like, including whether they should bring children into the world, Professor Cavenett says.

A 2019 survey of about 1600 young people aged 14 to 23 found 82 per cent believed climate change would “diminish their quality of life” and 80 per cent reported being “somewhat or very anxious” about climate change.

Macheon Smeaton, a 24-year-old university student from Sydney’s inner west, says he “struggles to imagine” what the world will look like when he is 50.

“I have two nieces and I’m already thinking about their future and how difficult parts of their future will be because of what’s already set in motion,” he says.

Asked what form the mental stress he experiences from climate change takes, Smeaton says it is more sadness for himself but anxiety for his nieces.

“I guess getting involved in activism, whether or not we are actually making a huge difference, does help,” he says.

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