It’s all happening at once and it feels out of control. We’re not even sure what is real and what is not. Even science can’t be trusted.
We fear not only for ourselves, but feel deep down that most primal of fears: that our children are under threat.
The overwhelming individual response to climate change is a psychological response: anxiety. And denial – a psychological process.
It’s literally impossible for us to care because we are so overcome with emotion. This is about how we feel not so much what we know – although we need to inform more people quickly about what is happening and what they can do.
This isn’t something to beat ourselves up with, with shame and guilt, but to recognise and then accept. Acceptance plays a big part in Deep Adaptation (alert: Jem Bendell’s paper is deep shit and requires a full read, on a sunny afternoon).
Once we accept that something bad could happen, we can treat the anxiety by seeing what we can do about it. In my case going to work with amazing students at an art School. But your response could be different.
You may be a civil engineer – well, be a better one. You may be a lawyer, well use that training for good, fight for humanity. You could be a doctor or a teacher or a civil servant – there will be ways you can help, leave a more positive footprint.
Work in the oil industry? Well….recognise that you could have a more worthwhile, more positive, more secure and more rewarding job working in local renewables programmes than for a fossil fuel company who would sack you on a whim.
This goes for any career and sector I can think of. We can all do good, it’s not up to the environmentalists – who tend to be a depressed lot and shout quite a bit – or the climate scientists, who can only report on what is going to happen.
It’s business people, the financiers, the movers and shakers who will decide our fate. We need to both make the change a moral imperative and the will of the people.