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& # 39; People talk about deep sadness & # 39 ;: Scientists study the sadness of climate change



Sometimes it happens slowly, sometimes at once. Hayes has seen the effects of the 2013 flood in High River, Alta., A kind of catastrophic event that is expected to occur more and more.

"There are still effects left over from the floods," he said. "There was anxiety when it rained, on the anniversary, when (people) crossed the bridge to go to Sungai Tinggi."

Children crawl to bed with mom and dad when the clouds open. People think of the Christmas decoration box in the basement when they realize it's gone.


"People will talk about the smell of stuffy moldiness or the sound of a generator that lights up. It makes them pool. Makes them nervous. It makes them remember the flood, everything they lost."

A study at the University of Alberta found the same effect 18 months after a massive fire in Fort McMurray, Alt., Which destroyed a tenth of the city. A survey of visitors to health care facilities found high levels of post-traumatic stress and anxiety and substance abuse disorders.

"We see broader psychosocial effects, things like weakened social ties or increased addiction or even increased aggression in relation to domestic violence," said Peter Berry, science advisor at Health Canada. "Some of the effects can occur immediately or take months or even years."

Disasters are also not the only way that weather related to climate change can cause stress.

"Volatility," said Ron Bonnett of the Canadian Agriculture Federation. "What we see is far more variation than we did in the past."

Farmers can survive months without rain, then see their fields submerged in heavy rain. More than just business, agriculture is a home and tradition, and it can increase mental betting, said Bonnett.

"There are almost mental barriers: & # 39; What should I do next? How do I make a decision? & # 39; You are only paralyzed. All you can see are plants lying there that you can't let go.

The words "paralyzed" and "helpless" often appear when solastalgia is discussed. Feeling nothing you can do is very corrosive, said Julia Payson of the Canadian Mental Health Association in the Okanagan BC region, where fires and evacuations have been a constant feature of recent summers.

"Powerlessness tells you you can't fix this and you won't stop feeling bad. It tells you there's no point in reaching out, gathering with the community and seeing what you can do."

In fact, he said, reaching out is one of the best ways to overcome.

"Powerlessness creates feelings of isolation and when we can break it down by building community, it makes a big difference.

"We acknowledge our feelings. We know it's important to have it. We are looking for people to support us, we are looking for actions that we can take to take back the feeling of control."

Great advice, said Thomas Doherty, who has mental health practices in Portland, Ore., Which helps people feel environmental sadness.

People can feel like "climate hostages" who are trapped by information avalanches with little action from their leaders. Doherty suggests finding ways to get involved and do something.

He has another recipe: get out.

"That is part of coping. It makes you related to life, with things bigger than you."

But until everything changes, get used to solastalgia, Modlinski said.

"As an artist who painted North Canada, I have witnessed the slow and creeping climate change that is happening. The emotional sadness of the environment that I feel will become a widespread anxiety. It will happen.

"I don't think our health system is even ready to deal with it."


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