• fire seen through cockpit of a helicopter

      (Photo – @LACoFireAirOps)

      Anxiety and trauma have become common effects of living and surviving in our rapidly overheating and intensely polluted globe. Scientists tell us over and over that we are well on our way to unthinkable consequences in the very near future. In fact, many people have already experienced such horrific events. If you are feeling battered by climate change, you definitely are not alone.

      By Thom Hawkins

      A UC, San Diego team has just published a new study documenting the lingering PTSD-like symptoms of climate disaster.

      Such trauma is more widespread than expected and can seriously disable cognitive function. Victims might not be fully aware of the impacts. You don’t have to live through a disaster to become disruptively anxious about global heating and erratic, extreme weather. It’s very hard to ignore.

      Most of us are not in positions to do enough to make a major difference in the climate tragedy besetting us all. That being said, many experts tell us that the healthiest strategy is to be proactive on five fronts:

      1. Stay informed on the science and news reports from reliable sources so you don’t get blindsided.
      2. Practice caring for the earth through gardening, hiking, camping or any beneficial activity in pristine nature. Appreciate the beauty nature still has to offer. Live as sustainably as possible.
      3. Prepare for the worst: stock food and water, tools, first aid, etc. Make your home as resistant as possible to fire, flooding, weather extremes and power outages. Have a portable solar panel with rechargeable battery to run fans, coolers and lights. Get a solar cooker. Keep large, solid blocks of ice in your freezer along with frozen food.
      4. Consider carefully how you want to behave when disaster strikes, because it will, very soon.
      5. Meet regularly with equally concerned friends, relatives and neighbors to share information from the first four strategies.
      6. Tell family and friends often how much you love them.

      Finally, lower your expectations that technology will find “solutions” to control warming. The record is none too good so far, so why add disappointment to the suffering we’re all in for? Escape is not a realistic goal. Acceptance is.

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      1. Ross McPherson says:

        We are at the point where positive f/b atmospheric & environment mechanisms will take over leaving no way out. Should certainly be employing those social & environmental interactions points by then!

      2. Neil Taylor says:

        Thank you making it clear that environmental disasters are real and getting worse. However I don’t support the idea of making it worse by buying and hoarding more stuff. Over consumption of resources is the problem.

        • Thom Hawkins says:

          I agree with your last sentence, Neil. You could offset your preparedness spending by reducing other forms of overconsumption, of which there are many. However, I understand that some prefer not to prepare for something they feel they have no way of preventing. As I mention in the article, there are other ways you can fight depression.

      3. Jeanne Yacoubou, MS says:

        All useful advice. Since systemic change is needed to curb climate crisis, become active politically. Beyond voting, volunteer to help climate-minded candidates get elected or run yourself at all levels of government. Contact your Congress people regularly to make your voice heard. If you can, become a stockholder in major corporations to pass resolutions that their business practices must become truly sustainable.

        • Thom Hawkins says:

          The key word is “active.” Back up political activity with personal changes in life style and preparedness for the worst.

      4. Eric Darst says:

        Here’s what I’m working on:

        Community Resiliency Gardens

        Sustainable and responsible harvesting of energy and food from neighborhood adjacent land
        – Community Land Trusts
        – Modular systems based on need and capacity
        – Land or vertical regenerative farming
        – Panel or concentrated solar
        – Energy storage or reverse metering
        – Low embodied carbon and material resource lifecycles
        – Microgrids

        Advocating Regrowth Culture

        I’m a Colorado native

      5. Charles Jacobsen says:

        I would only add that climate change activism in groups such as Extinction Rebellion is appropriate.

        I will mention that a video on The Weather Channel said that vegetable prices are up 80% in the last year, largely due to climate change. This means that lower income people will suffer first.

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