The Green Mind

Finding the human place in nature

Ready for a Hotter Planet?

Are we prepared for climate change and environmental decline? Not only are we not doing enough to slow climate change, scientists say, but we’re also not prepared to handle the acute and chronic mental health challenges already stirred up by climate destabilization. If we don’t slow climate change, we may at least be able to brace ourselves against its effects. Read More

Attack of the killing tomatoes

I have heard about environmental therapy. I actually became aware of the phenomena years back, so is nothing new. I questioned such a therapy, because the therapy -- which is not a recognized form in psyche circles --is not a credible and reliable solution to what is environmental therapy. The question I have is what is the difference between "Ecopsychology", or Social Psychology, other than weather? Don't you think these practioners are just getting a buck of a dilemna that sounds delusioal than accurate? I mean, I think the conditions and disorders that are in the books today are accurate descriptions of mental deliquencies caused by human observation, learning, cognition, etc. Depression, which we all agree, has many forms, but everyone agrees that it can be caused by many factors, including social, personal, neuro, or defiency. We didn't learn about depression by studying a tree, we learned it by studying other human beings.

I think we gotta be careful not to confuse legitimate and proven forms of anxieties, because inanimate objects doesn't teach us anything other than how we react or see them. If you have an obssession about saving water and you compulsively try to save water, causing you to get anxiety every time the dishes are being washed, then you not only have a delusion, but you may also have a compulsive disorder; possibly an anxiety disorder. Is no different than having other compulsive disorders, only this time you really, really want to save water.

I'm all in favor of helping those who are seriously ill, even if they believe that their country is going to drown itself to death. Yes, those are unusual cases, but practioners shouldn't change anything because of climate change. The tools are already there to heal mental illnesses. Becoming detached from reality is a serious issue, and I think we need to get then back to reality before they hurt themselves or the people that care for him/her.

There's more to ecopsychology

Dear reader,

There is much more to ecopsychology than I wrote in my post, and your comment here makes me realize that my next post should probably be more of an expansion about what ecopsychology is about. I assure you it's much more involved than you guessed, and there's a lot of very deep theorizing that backs up the practices. Standard psychological practices are woefully inadequate in understanding the human psyche is part of nature, and ecopsychology is helping to re-instate the natural in the psyche.

Several books have been published on the theory and practice of ecopsychology, and a good starting point is here:

Thanks for your comment.


Vulnerable minds

Before global warming--now climate change, we of course had crises on the way from the depletion of the ozone layer, hazardous waste and the filling up of the land fills, loss of the rain forests, global cooling in the '70s, Paul Ehrlich's 'Population Bomb' and mass starvation, and more of the same back to Malthus at least. There are even parallels to religious fundamentalists (think Hal Lindsey and the 'Late Great Planet Earth) or Islams 'the hidden Imam' and the end of the world, etc. Some people, perhaps out of self loathing, long for the end of humanity.

The real crime is that children and some vulnerable adults are being pedaled environmental nonsense that can cause mental anguish. But rather than sending such people to crackpot ecopsychologists, they should be educated on the long history of alarmism and the desire for crisis. Patrick Allitt's new book "A Climate of Crisis" would be a good start. As Al Gore morphs into General Jack D. Ripper before our eyes, the rest of us, especially anyone distressed by the shill rants, will be comforted by being able to put it all in a historical context.

re: Vulnerable minds

I'm certainly a fan of seeing current events in their historical context (which is why I teach world environmental history courses). But I'd point out that it may precisely be because some people sounded the alarm that some of our major environmental problems have gotten addressed (and for instance the Cayahoga River doesn't catch on fire any longer).

I'm more sympathetic to people labelled alarmist. Perhaps they wouldn't have to speak so loudly if we had a political system that actually responded appropriately to environmental degradation without such pressures. Instead, we have one party who utterly denies that some environmental problems, including climate change, are even real.

There's a difference between sounding the alarm and being alarmist. In the case of climate change, a major difference is that today virtually every scientist and social scientist who studies climate change and its effects warns we are way behind in responding.


Another perspective

I know many "wisdom" teachers who have dedicated their life to serving humanity and their own evolution that do not believe in the scenario presented in this article.

They believe that Climate change is a natural cycle, that although it is made worse by human activity, it would occur regardless.

Such wisdom teachers are not white Republican males but represent both sexes, every race, religion and generally are self employed and economically lower or middle class. Many of these teachers are native shamans with a connection to nature that goes far beyond the left brain environmental scientist.

Science is essential but cannot replace the insight for example of a medecine man or woman whose relationship with nature offers an understanding that can never be matched through most "scientific research". In other words the difference between studying mother earth and experiencing mother earth directly.

Yes humans are destroying the earth but it doesn't mean that climate change is what it is made out to be. I am sure Al Gore had excellent intentions but it doesn't mean he understood the whole system.

Re: Another perspective

Dear Anonymous,

Many other wise first peoples and others would oppose the "wisdom teachers" you mention, and who fight against climate change and the ways that it impacts them MORE than most people.

For all of the talk about people the pressures some people may feel to want to believe that humans are evil and destroying everything, there has to be many thousands of times more pressure on the part of people comfortable with their everyday lives, fearful of change, and fearful of the possible disruptions that are said to result from climate change. The latter is a powerful source of denial in our society, I believe.

But change comes--in energized storms, flooding, crop losses, and so on--mostly gradually, but according to scientists, ever faster.


Bogus Nonsense

>>But change comes--in energized storms, flooding, crop losses, and so on

Ken, there is wide, although not total, agreement among climate scientists (the opinions of social scientists on this topic are no more valid than those of investment bankers) that greenhouse gasses are causing the earths surface temps to rise slightly. However, there is no such agreement regarding the extreme weather events you mention. This is the bogus alarmism that is downright evil in the way it is intended to frighten children and "vulnerable minds" for the purpose of achieving political ends. There has been no increase in hurricane activity, floods, etc., the polar bears are not diminishing, the peaks of the Himalayas are not melting, etc. This is pure BS. Yes, thanks largely to the environmental movement tailpipe emissions from automobiles in the US are down more than 95% since 1960, and our waters are cleaner than ever, but these lies don't justify the ends.

Forms of denial

More energized storms, flooding, and crop losses are all widely recognized by the scientific community to be outcomes of global climate change, as reported in the latest IPCC reports.

Please see

Climate change denial, motivated by fear, ignorance, and perhaps selfishness, can take many forms: denial that it is happening; denial that human activity is its main driver; denial that it will have serious consequences that will affect most people; denial that there is anything to be done to mitigate those consequences.

I'm afraid I'll have to leave this conversation there. People can go to the IPCC website and also the following two sites to see what they themselves think about the realities of climate change:


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Kenneth Worthy, Ph.D., author of Invisible Nature, is a research associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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