Monday, April 07, 2008

Trendy New Psychosis Alert : Doctors Brace For Wave Of "Climate Change Mental Illness"

Troubled by the Uncle Dave and his pit bull abuse you suffered in your childhood? Haunted by your grandfather's suicide at his 50th wedding anniversary while you were raising a toast? Crippled by your love-hate relationship with Jesus and memories of the Catholic priests who 'baptised' you? Still struggling with revelations that your father was a hermaphrodite 1970s porn movie queen? Stressed into locking yourself away forever by your inexplicable fear of being eaten by paving stones and attacked by bus shelters?

Pffft. You're all a bunch of whiny wussbags. And so far behind the times. There's a new anxiety in town, major celebrities already have it and if you're not already telling friends you are "stressed beyond belief about the climate change" you will soon sound like an imitator, instead of an innovator.

From the Herald Sun :
Climate change is not only bad news for the environment, it also threatens our mental health, a doctor warns.

Grant Blashki, from the University of Melbourne, warned that global warming was making many people anxious.

"People with depression and anxiety have a low threshold to taking on the negative information about climate change . . . which feeds into a hopelessness about the future."

Dr Blashki will call for healthcare professionals to brace for a wave of climate change mental illness in a speech to mark today's World Health Day.

What a shock. Mind tinkerers have found a fresh branch of depression to exploit, a low grade anxiety to market and pontificate upon. And it's trendy and socially responsible. Gold!

Are you suffering from Warm Gore Psychosis (WGP)?

Are you troubled by suddenly summery days and your neighbours' inability to turn off all their lights before they go to bed?

Do you find yourself sheeting sweat in the veggie shop while repeatedly asking the confused owner how many 'Carbon Kilometres' the pear you're clutching in your damp fist has racked up?

Are you reconsidering starting a family because you've already calculated how much carbon your planned for two children will produce in their lifetimes and you can't sleep, so riddled by pre-emptive carbon-guilt?

Help. We need help. Perhaps in the shape of a pill.

Won't some pharmaceutical company please come up with a new anti-anxiety medication designed to specifically target the areas in the brain responsible for this apparently eagerly anticipated "wave of climate change mental illness"?

Yes. Of course they will.

But this, it's all the wrong attitude.

If you instead look forward to climate change induced chaos and destruction instead, and do it without feeling any guilt or empathy, then you only face some disappoint if The Warmolypse doesn't live up to its mega-disaster-movie-level potential.

There's plenty of carbon-guilt, climate change anxiety and Warm Gore Psychosis to be seen nearly everyday in newspapers' letter sections and on most online comment boards attached to dooming reports on how Mother Nature is preparing to clean our clocks.

One of the worst recent examples of Warm Gore Psychosis I've seen is this travel story about 'going green' in the Blue Mountains. The writer spends almost one third of her large New York Times large story fretting about the carbon footprint of her flight from the US to Australia :

Of course, one could make the argument that the moment I chose Australia (a blow-your-carbon-footprint-off-the-map sort of destination), I committed my first serious environmental crime of the trip.

According to one carbon calculator, my round-trip journey between London and Sydney alone (about 21,000 miles) would produce an outlandish 5.6 tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of leaving all the lights on in my home all day and night for two years and six months.

With such an earth-shattering (literally) equation staring back at me, it was hard not to think twice before flying.

Awesome. a New York Times travel writer is so crippled by her footprint-of-destruction carbon guilt that she considers not traveling at all. But wait, carbon offsetting saves the day :
(Justin Francis of Responsible Travel) went on to assuage my guilt by telling me that one in 12 jobs in the world is in tourism, and if everyone decided not to travel, the result would be a global recession that would undoubtedly hit the developing countries hardest, and not just their economies. (In October 2007, the United Nations World Tourism Organization estimated that 46 of the 49 poorest countries in the world rely on international tourism as their primary source of foreign exchange earnings.)

“Tourism also keeps many cultures from going extinct,” he said. “Often rituals and traditions are passed down between generations primarily because tourists come to see them.”

I vowed to learn something about the Aborigines if I went to Australia.
So what did this New York Times travel writer learn about Australian Aborigines? Just one thing :
Aborigines lived in these caves as recently as 100 years ago, isolated from the European settlers who were colonizing the rest of New South Wales.
She learned lots about how Qantas found a new way to charge $25-$30 more in Gore taxes, supposedly offsetting the traveller's and their own carbon output, but not much about the Aborigines.

Obviously learning how the NYTimes travel writer found a way to "assuage my guilt"
over actually traveling as part of her travel writing job was far more important than learning that within a short distance from her Blackheath eco-lodge can be found numerous examples of ancient Aboriginal art and culture.