Global Climate Change Causing Emotional Damage?

With the incessant attention the media dedicates towards climate change, people throughout the world have become notably worried about our planet’s future. Albeit, John Davir, an established journalist and author, elaborates upon the fact that the majority of American citizens acknowledges the presence of global warming, but are unaware of the causes and unconcerned with potential results.

Furthermore, an online survey of undergraduates conducted by Janet Yang and Lee Kahlor (2012) reveals that individuals who are not worried about climate change tend to avoid it, or ignore its existence in entirety. It appears that numerous people do not deem the amelioration of the environment as a top priority, as they will not live to see the full extent of environmental destruction.

Anxiousness regarding the plausible future state of the Earth is often intensified when individuals who have priory experienced climatic disaster imagine them reoccurring, as validated by a Hurricane Sandy survivor’s experience. Not only do said events, which appear to have a fortified correlation with climate change, leave physical damage (soil degradation, destruction of houses, etc.), but they also leave emotional turmoil. For example, 30% of individuals examined 3.5-4.5 years after the hurricane appeared to have distress levels high enough to suggest probable mental illness.

This investigation falls within the overview of anthropology, as its specialists continue to hone in on the emotional human responses as a result of climatic environment that surrounds them. Before reading Merrill Singer’s article The Emotional Burdens of Global Climate Change, I was cognizant of the anxiety revolving around global climate change, but was never complete aware that it could amass to the point of recognizable mental illness.