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What Stage Of Climate Grief Are You Locked In?

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Jo Nova

I think this is a new form of grieving, where people project the grief of their collapsing religion onto something else instead, like “the environment”.

What if you lost, say, the Great Barrier Reef? No seriously, what if you woke up one morning and it was gone? Celeste Young is paid to worry about that and she’s written a whole article on climate grief. It has no data, and uses models and namecalling which makes it a perfect fit for The Conversation.

A variety of losses can be experienced. People may grieve due to the perceived future loss of something; for example, the type of grief often expressed via social media over the potential loss of the Great Barrier Reef. Individuals and communities may grieve for the loss of a loved landscape damaged by drought, fire or flood.

She adapts the famous Kubler Ross Five Stages of Grief (doesn’t everyone) to deliver clichés in table form. But don’t rush to knock it, I think this is a new form of grieving, where people project the grief of their collapsing religion onto something else instead, like “the environment”. Let’s call it Parody-grieving. Does Young realize the parallels?

The Climate-club are still stuck at stage one. They know something is wrong but the cognitive dissonance is killing them: their heroes hide declines and data, are too scared to debate anyone, and the equipment just keeps failing and needs adjustment.

Their saints get imaginary Nobel Prizes for Peace instead of science, but even with every six-member-science-committee on the planet reciting the hymn, half the citizens on Earth don’t believe them, and never will.

For Celeste and her friends the news is bad. They used to think they could control the climate. Feel her pain.

Even with concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, some climate change cannot be avoided

She’s waking up to a world where the climate might change. The fantasy climate of her childhood dreams is evaporating. At least she can get some consolation that unlike most of the last 100,000 years of humanity, when the storms come, she has electricity, four wheel drives and hospitals.

That nine tenths of a degree of warming we’ve had is not so bad, Celeste, compared to an ice age.

The insights don’t stop:

Climate change does throw up some unique challenges because it is continuous change.

Continuous change — as opposed to what — the last 65 million years of  volcanoes, asteroids, and wild swinging interglacials? There’s that utopia of the stable climate again. Humans had to grieve through the Dark Ages, the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. Somehow they grieved without an iphone.

This may result in people becoming overwhelmed as losses accumulate over time, or becoming “stuck” and unable to move through the grief process.

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Grief Stage One – Some people deny we have a climate. Feel sorry for them. |  (Click to enlarge).

 

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