Flat White

Forget coronavirus. The ABC wants to know if you’re suffering from “climate grief”

19 August 2020

5:30 PM

19 August 2020

5:30 PM

“Climate grief” is overwhelming many Australians who now suffer from “eco-despair” because of global warming, the ABC has warned.

The national purveyor of climate doom published an article today warning that constant reporting of doom was creating a sense of doom that could leave many Australians feeling doomed.

ABC health reporter Paige Cockburn wrote: “Feeling miserable, anxious, helpless and just generally terrible because the world is becoming less habitable? You’re not alone.

“Climate grief — or eco anxiety/despair — is a strong psychological response to the current and future loss of habitats, species and ecosystems.

“It’s recognised by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and sufferers may feel emotions like fear, anger, guilt, shame, grief, loss and helplessness.”

Returned veterans suffering from PTSD will be heartened to learn that a bunch of activists now know just how they feel because of CO2.

Of course, the best remedy for climate grief would be a strong dose of empirical scientific evidence.

Failing that, teachers and politicians could stop trying to create an environment of hysteria. Or we could simply defund the ABC.

But since those options are about as likely as a Tim Flannery climate prediction coming true, what to do with the growing number of traumatized people racked with guilt and shame every time they switch on a light?


How do we help good people who can’t even start their car engine in the morning without hearing in the back of their mind an angry Swedish teenager chiding them “How dare you”? 

Fear not, The Australian Psychology Society has devoted much of its website to helping people “cope with climate change distress”.

The Society warns that failure to process feelings of grief or guilt about climate change could lead to people being overwhelmed and unable to function in their everyday lives.

This could explain why Greens like Adam Bandt and Sarah Hanson-Young make so little sense. Emotional wrecks are unsuitable for involvement in public debate.

The website recommends climate change worriers consider “having a day job that is separate to your activist work” in order to avoid sinking into a fully-fledged eco-funk.

If getting a job sounds a bit extreme, another coping strategy for those burdened by “the existential threats to civilisation as we know it” is to take what the Australian Psychology Society calls “a doona day”. Because, you know, sometimes you just need to lay in bed while the planet burns and, besides, it beats going to work.

Other coping strategies are to “watch a fire, gaze at a waterfall, or pick flowers without exerting attentional effort”.

If this fails to take your mind off polar bears stranded on ice blocks then the website encourages you to “let yourself have a cry from time to time”.

“Some people find that expressing their sadness by crying can be a relief. It is sad that our planet is struggling to cope with overpopulation and overconsumption. These feelings are real, so let them out” it advises.

Dr Tristan Snell, a counselling psychologist and researcher in environmental psychology at Deakin University told the ABC that “there’s no ritual around loss of environment”.

“When you lose someone, there’s a funeral and all sorts of ways people connect and this helps process that loss. That’s just not the case for loss of environment,” he said.

Someone might like to advise Dr Snell that the Earth is still very much alive. When you want to hold a funeral before the patient has even died, you really are in a bad way!

The ABC article laments the fact that “no research on climate grief among Australian Indigenous people exists”.

No doubt it will be done, because everything – even eco grief – must be viewed through the prism of race. Black Climate Grief Matters.

But it will probably not be done until research on climate grief among the two-spirited genderqueer trans women is first completed.

While it’s all very well for the ABC to publish articles to assist snowflakes afflicted by climate torment, what about the acute sense of grief and loss the rest of us feel, knowing our taxes are used to pay someone to write this stuff?

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