Climate Grief

Why It’s Important for USA to Feel Sad About Climate Change?

When I read news about the most recent IPCC climate assessment report or predictions of an impending mass extinction, I’ll be the first to admit that the precise amount of warming, the height of the sea level rise, or the number of species that will perish have less of an impact on my thinking than the overwhelming sadness they elicit.

I don’t always recall numbers, but I do remember how they make me feel, to paraphrase Maya Angelou. When your eyes are clouded by tears, it is difficult to concentrate on the individual words.

I run my hands along the ridges in the tree bark because of love. I feed the birds who visit our house in the winter because I’m motivated by love. And what makes me care so intensely about what endangers the neighbors I love is pain, which is love’s opposite.

That somatic experience has helped me understand why, in my opinion, climate advocacy is most effective when it taps into people’s feelings of sadness rather than repeating numbers that all too often leave people feeling numb.

Psychologists have differing opinions on why we weep emotional tears. William H. Frey discovered that emotional tears have higher concentrations of several neurotransmitters than tears resulting from chopping onions in his widely acclaimed 1985 book, Crying: The Mystery of Tears.

He proposed that our tear ducts aid in the release of brain chemicals, which is why we have developed the capacity for crying out of genuine emotion and why we frequently feel better afterward. Ad Vingerhoets and other scholars have recently questioned this hypothesis and advocated that tears largely serve social purposes. Frey’s work is still up for debate, yet there is indisputable proof that crying strengthens relationships with others.

Climate Grief

One recent study indicated that watching someone weep increased people’s propensity to offer assistance in every country across 41 nations on six continents. Qualitative research backs up this connection: Hans Ladegaard discovered that tears increased the emotional support offered by other participants and helped participants talk about their trauma in a report that examined 89 weeping occurrences at a Hong Kong shelter for abused domestic workers.

People I questioned in my own research frequently recalled instances in which a total stranger came up to them and comforted them after observing them in tears. Something about observing tangible signs of other people’s suffering causes a reaction.

What does this mean for climate activism, then? One lesson to be learned is how crucial it is for individuals to understand the suffering that their neighbors endure. While going about our daily lives, it may seem as though other people do not understand the profound sorrow and agony we experience when considering the state of our environment.

Certainly, not everyone is equally concerned, but more suffering exists than we are aware of, especially for young people. By giving people a place to talk about their hurt, you may encourage them to get past their feelings and take action.

This emphasizes the value of storytelling: Accounts of climate activists overcoming hardship to resist forces that are killing us inspire others to take similar action.

Read More: Scientists Find a “Breathtaking Mix” of Biodiversity in The Deep-Sea Reefs of The Galápagos Islands!

However, one unexpected lesson I took away from my sobbing interviews is that many times, individuals don’t cry when they’re most stressed out. In general, it appears that experiencing loss enhances sobbing up to a degree, but when the agony exceeds a certain threshold, people report crying less and withdrawing into numbness.

I worry that this trend is heavily at work in our current climate problem. The extent of mortality predicted by experts is so mind-boggling that it can be crippling. For instance, thinking about predictions that one-third of the world’s species may go extinct by 2050 can cause paralyzing agony.

The possibility of 1.2 billion climate refugees during that time period makes whatever action we take seem inconsequential. However, this is obviously a lie. It matters what we do. It is necessary to acknowledge our collective ability to reduce our suffering in order to make this claim, in addition to acknowledging pain. This involves both intellectual and emotional work.

Read More: Macron’s Trip To China Ends With A Joint Statement About The Environment And Biodiversity!

The last fact I’ll mention regarding crying is this: We strengthen our bond with the cause of our sorrow when we cry. And that is crucial right now. The powers of extractivist intentionally foster and rely on our loneliness and hopelessness. They urge us to believe that we are isolated from the community that can help us deal with our anxieties.

According to an interview with Kaitlin Curtice for Cry, Baby, As we get older, we begin to understand the lessons of colonization, such as the fact that the land is a commodity rather than a living thing. We lose the emotional bond we formerly shared with the Earth, who was also our mother and a close friend. For instance, we are taught to view climate refugees as problems rather than as individuals deserving of a prosperous future.

Grief offers us the chance to re-form these ties, to feel them in our bodies, and to respect the claim they have on our lives.

A preacher at Middle Church, Benjamin Perry is also a published author whose work has appeared in publications like The Washington Post, Slate, Sojourners, and Bustle. Perry, who holds an MDiv from Union Theological Seminary and a psychology degree from SUNY Geneseo, has held positions as an editor at Time, Inc.

as well as an organizer with the New York chapter of the Poor People’s Campaign. Perry is the editor of the Queer Faith photojournalism project and has been on MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and NY1. He maintains a small apple orchard in Maine with his wife, Erin Mayer, and lives there with his brother and best friend.

Deepak Grover

Deepak works on enviro360 as a senior content editor. He reports on the latest events and changes in the technology, climate, and entertainment industry. Moreover, he is quite interested in knowing every single piece of information about celebrity's lifestyles and daily updates. In his spare time, he enjoys playing and watching a variety of sports, as well as spending time with his family.

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