JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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That’s compassion: Making students mentally ill for your own political gain

Tony Thomas has been reading academic papers so you don’t have to. Dr Blanche Verlie at the Uni of Sydney explores “the affective geographies of eco-anxiety” and seems to help create victims to study at the same time. A good business model maybe, but at the expense of mental health.

The more young people suffer, the more useful they are as political activists:

Getting Kids’ Climate Misery Just Right

Tony Thomas, Quadrant

Dr Blanche Verlie,Uni Sydney

Verlie correctly concedes that “climate anxiety can intersect with and contribute to clinically diagnosable mental illness” born of “hopelessness, disillusionment or apathy”. But she explains helpfully (if I might paraphrase) that the more kids suffer the better chance they’ll become green activists. In her own words,

climate anxiety is not an illness or disorder, but an appropriate and even valuable source of discomfort that can provide an important lens to help people re-evaluate what is important to them and find meaningful ways to inhabit the world. Education’s remit for cultivating critical thinking and empowerment thus makes it an exciting realm for supporting young people to contribute to what Verlie (2019a) [she is speaking of herself in […]

Climate Distress? ABC offers therapy and forgiveness to failed Ecowarriors who still use plastic nappies and styrofoam cups

It’s all a bit much for snowflakes

The ABC is just a Lifestyle Magazine for the Upperclass, paid for by everyone else.

For twenty years the media EcoRulers told people they will destroy the Earth if they use disposable coffee cups and nappies. Their whole identity as a Good Person depended on doing the right thing. And “every little bit matters” — etcetera, and ad nauseum.

Who would have guessed that asking people to save the Planet with every purchase would cause anxiety, a perpetual sense of failure, and long term stress?

And it never mattered anyway — the point was not the environment, but the political power. So now that hapless fans are being struck down with “Climate Distress” — it’s time to forgive them.

Here’s the ABC Agony Aunt column letting all of them off the hook:

Climate distress is real and it’s rational. Here’s how to manage it

Edwina Seselja

While researching how to reduce her carbon footprint a few years back, Brisbane woman Zara Monteith quickly fell down an anxiety-inducing rabbit hole, with each search opening her eyes to a different environmental problem to try to solve.

“It feels overwhelming — […]

They mix one-sided climate hype and six year olds. What did they think would happen?

They declare a climate emergency and use children as political weapons and wonder why children are distressed?

ABC needs to run advice columns now dealing with the aftermath of watching the ABC:

How to talk to children about climate change

ABC Radio National By Sarah Scopelianos

It’s bad:

… one protest, against the Adani coal mine, sparked a “tough moment” for her son, who was around six at the time. He became “absolutely devastated” about global warming and damage to the Great Barrier Reef. “He cried, and he was so distressed, and I was quite taken aback just how strong his feelings were,” Ms Roberts [his mother] says.

Expert psych says give them both sides of the story… no wait, she says turn them into mini activists:

Environmental psychologist and therapist Dr Susie Burke co-wrote the Australian Psychological Society guidelines on talking to children about climate change.

Dr Burke advocates for parents to support their children, which could include helping their child write or send their letters to a local politician, or to heroes of the environmental movement.

“It’s helping children to shift their anxiety from just focusing […]

Ecological Grief – when scientists think they need therapy, but what they really need is debate

Once upon a time, scientists had colleagues that brought them back to earth. Then sensible scientists were sacked and the only people left in the department were the hyperbolic dramatists. Is it any wonder that what’s left of university departments thinks they need therapy? Every time one of them hits the panic button they all panic together.

‘Ecological grief’ grips scientists witnessing Great Barrier Reef’s decline

Barnes, who is still analysing her results, was surprised that many of the scientists whom she interviewed felt intense grief and sadness about the reef’s deterioration. Nature has also spoken to several coral-reef scientists not involved in Barnes’s study who echo those sentiments.

“I now feel much more hopeless, and there’s a deeper anxiety breaking through,” says John Pandolfi, a marine ecologist at the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

David Suggett, a coral physiologist at the University of Technology Sydney. “Nothing can prepare you for seeing it play out in real time,” he says.

Nothing can prepare you — unless of course a wiser older colleague reminds you when it all happened before. “No biggie.”

Suggett says that he finds it difficult to set his emotions […]

Tears for the climate (or to boost their social status?)

The Tear Stained Flogs of Climate Science

The unstoppable Tony Thomas has collected the tears of climate scientists the world over as they wallow in their self-inflicted heartache. For anyone who hasn’t come face to face with the raw emotional PR power of a crying scientist, check out Quadrant.

In particular, this new study:

The $2.5 million dollar study of The Emotional Labor of Climate Scientists

.. let’s get back to the psyches of Australia’s top warming spruikers. Geographers Professor Lesley Head (Melbourne University) and Dr Theresa Harada (Wollongong University) have published a breakthrough paper in the peer reviewed journal Emotion Space and Society. It’s called “Keeping the heart a long way from the brain: The emotional labour of climate scientists”.[4] This includes insights about climate-panic people’s “emotional labour” from “feminist perspectives” in which the scientists combat “a strong climate denialist influence”. The authors, straight-faced, found that our climate scientists use emotional denial to suppress the consequences of climate change. Guilt-free, they can then continue “extensive use of long-distance airplane trips throughout a scientific career”.

The authors accept, no questions asked, that 33-50 per cent of the world’s petroleum and over 80 per cent of […]

Meteoranxiety — pre traumatic stress about climate change that hasn’t happened yet

More support for snowflakes.

Are you feeling stressed about imaginary man-made climate change that hasn’t even happened yet? Thanks to taxpayer funds, there is a virtual reality event that may help you (or not). The Bureau of Meteoranxiety is on in Melbourne this week. This experimental, untested technique doesn’t look like it gets to the nub of the problem.

If victims spent 45 minutes with a friendly skeptic instead, they could be cured for life. Where is the grant for that?

Image credit: Michael Tartaglia

Are you feeling stressed about the end of the world? If yes, you might want head to this Next Wave event. An immersive live art experience incorporating VR technology, Bureau of Meteoranxiety by Perth-based artists Alex Tate and Olivia Tartaglia will allow participants to work through their fears of climate change by exposing them to “experimental visual therapies and sensory remedies” and providing “new language and coping strategies to help stay above the metaphorical and literal flood line”.

Blindside: Bureau of Meteoranxiety.

Book your tickets for Melbourne (or pick an airline and fly somewhere else).

Hannah Francis of The Age tells us the treatments seem “counterintuitive”. […]

Climate grief group has nine step program

I nearly headlined this: Climate grief group meets at someone’s house, Grist covers it. That’s pretty much all this program is. No one even counts to nine in this story.

Depressed about climate change? There’s a 9-step program for that.

Imagine Alcoholics Anonymous mixed with an environmental humanities course, and you’ll begin to get a sense of the “good grief” group started by Schmidt. Its goal is to help people cope with what’s been called “climate grief” — anxiety, sadness, depression, and other emotions provoked by awareness of the planet’s march toward a hotter,… future…

What she found was that feelings of sadness and anxiety, and even literal nightmares, were common. Last year, with the help of her partner, Aimee Reau, Schmidt developed a nine-step program for building resiliency loosely modeled on AA…

But this is big:

About a dozen people attend each session and 50 subscribe to its mailings.

If I get 12 people to my house, and have 12,000 subscribers, do you think Grist will write it up?

Perhaps they have some good results?

Perhaps not:

Schmidt, who now works as an outreach coordinator at the environmental group HEAL […]

Psychology and Climate Alarm: how fear and anxiety trump evidence

Across the West, there is a layer of smart-but-busy intellects who have not been involved in the climate debate. For one reason or another they’ve been too busy setting up IPO’s, doing research projects, or directing companies in perhaps technology, mining or banking, and generally being productive. It is excellent to see some of this caliber adding their brain-power and resources to the public arena. Especially so in Australia, where the debate is almost entirely bare-bones-volunteers versus billion-dollar-institutions, and where the culture of philanthropy is not well developed compared to the US.

This unusual advert was placed in The Australian today. In a normal world, investigative journalists would have already interviewed and discussed views like these, but in the hyperbolic, politicized and religious world of climate-alarm it was simpler for productive people to just get on with it, talk to their peers and make it happen.

Click to enlarge, or read the text below.

Psychology and The New Climate Alarm

Lowell Ponte’s 1975 book warns:

“Global cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for 110,000 years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is […]

Global anxiety? Scared of maths? Could that explain why some people are innumerate about the climate?

I find myself using the word innumerate more and more. Anything to do with climate change is about the numbers — how much will the planet warm? How much will it cost to change the weather? How much useful electricity do wind turbines produce? The arguments of everyone from trolls to Naomi Klein, to Sir Paul Nurse avoid the numbers. And the only time Greenpeace discuss numbers, they seem to pick the wrong kind — dollars instead of degrees. Then they miss the biggest dollars in this debate anyway (but only by a factor of 3,000). Numbers are just not their strong point.

Some people avoid the numbers strategically, — because it’s a debate they can’t win. Sir Paul Nurse hopes we don’t notice that he doesn’t even make an argument, he just declares his side “won”. He tosses a red herring about CO2 being a greenhouse gas. (Which is not what the debate is about. Perhaps he’s heard of feedbacks? He doesn’t say.) Otherwise, he declares the majority “know the cost benefits are worth it”, which is a/ a logical fallacy, b/ a lot like a car advert, and c/ completely wrong. The last UK poll I […]