Guest contribution by Eric Worrall
h / t John Garrett; According to Princeton psychology professor Elke Weber, many people are taking pills to cope with climate fear, and more people should bring the issue up on Thanksgiving – they will find that their whole family wants climate action.
Managing the reality of climate change
Aug 12, 202114: 25 p.m. ET
Heard for all things considered
NPR’s Audie Cornish talks to psychologist Elke Weber about how individuals deal with the threat of climate change.
CORNISH: People are increasingly dealing directly with the consequences of climate change – right? – Record heat across the country. How do people react when confronted with the magnitude of climate change? What emotions can this trigger?
WEBER: It can be incredibly overwhelming, especially with younger people. So there is no question that climate fear has increased dramatically by thinking about what kind of world we live in and what kind of world we could leave our children and grandchildren. That’s the way it is very debilitating symptoms that often require medication or psychotherapy.
CORNISH: What are the implications if governments don’t act quickly or aggressively enough? Is that something that people think of when it comes to how they perceive the idea of climate change, how they react to it?
WEBER: In psychology there is this notion of pluralistic ignorance – that we may be worried about a topic, but we don’t know how many other people are worried about that topic too, because often when things are polarized and charged, t talk about it. You know, We don’t talk about it on Thanksgiving. If people talked about it more, they would realize that their concerns about climate change are indeed widespread. And so, you know, I think politicians are more aware that a lot of people in their constituencies somehow want them to do something.
Read more: https://www.npr.org/2021/08/12/1027198507/coping-with-the-reality-of-climate-change
In the last election, I suspect there are a large number of Americans who do not see climate protection as their top priority. So I think Elke Weber is a little optimistic about the prospects that everyone will agree when true believers evangelize at the Thanksgiving table about the supposed need for radical climate protection measures.
I have no doubt that climate fear is causing real problems. If you brainwash children into thinking the world is on the verge of destruction and nobody does anything about it, you end up with a lot of extremely anxious children – many of whom make self-destructive decisions, like using hard drugs or losing their minds on prescribed doses Antidepressants. What’s the point of saving money, getting a better education, planning for the future when you believe there will be no future?
I think the narrative about the climate crisis is slowly dying, 40 years of predicting the impending end of the world due to human emissions is a little thin. But the broken lives and human debris will remain long after politicians have given up even the pretext of caring about climate change.