Are We Feeling Collective Grief Over Climate Change?

Extreme weather events lead news reports, and changing weather patterns disrupt business and community routines. “The deterioration of our planet – the only home we have ever known and an assurance we used to take for granted – is bound to elicit a wide range of emotions in different individuals,” explains Margaret Hetherman for Scientific American. She interviews forensic psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren who describes “a collective anxiety that is insidious, even if we haven't managed to connect all the dots.” Society is divided between those who focus on immediate needs, including jobs and reliable energy sources, and those concerned about sustainability for future generations. The suggestion that society as a whole is enduring the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – suggests that planet Earth is dying. Climatologist James Hansen, who has written for YaleGlobal, refuses to accept that proposition. He presses for government responses on climate change and participates in a lawsuit against the US government for failing to protect children's constitutional rights. Hansen maintains that the most tragic consequences of climate change are avoidable if society steps up awareness and self-control. – YaleGlobal

Are We Feeling Collective Grief Over Climate Change?

Psychiatrist suggests that society is anxious, grieving over floods, droughts, rising temperatures and other signs of climate change disrupting communities
Margaret Hetherman
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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Read about legal actions on climate change on behalf of children in the United States.

© 2016 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, A DIVISION OF NATURE AMERICA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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