As the Trump Administration prepares to decimate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scientific agencies are tying February’s warmth to climate change.
With record temperatures like the 99° seen in the EPA Administrator’s home state of Oklahoma, there have been 2,805 record highs this month across the US. For much of the winter, the Arctic has been 40° above normal and another huge glacier is breaking off Antarctica – if the whole thing goes it will add 2 feet of sea level rise. About half of the coral is dead in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and over 100 million trees have died in the US West.
And now we have a president and his cabinet who either deny the existence of climate change or don’t know if it’s caused by humans. “Leave it to the scientists” is often the new catch phrase – we couldn’t agree more!
Just don’t cut those scientists out of the budget! And stop deleting the words “climate change” from federal websites like the State Department, EPA and Energy Department.
Read our article, It’s a First in 4 Million Years, Antarctica Reaches 400 ppm
Meanwhile, At the Vatican
While Republicans push legislation to get rid of the Endangered Species Act, the Vatican is holding a “Biological Extinction” workshop called, “How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend.”
“The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” the organizers say.
The latest news from biologists is that HALF of all species on Earth face extinction during this century because of overpopulation, rampant development, forest clearing, ocean warming and acidification, and climate change. Yes, 7.4 billion people – expected to reach over 11 billion by 2100 – have a really BIG footprint on this finite planet.
In the past 25 years, there have been grand agreements to stop deforestation and protect biodiversity, such as Rio in 1992, but the destruction continues. “We are wrecking our planet’s life support systems. We have the capacity to stop that. The trouble is that the danger does not seem obvious to most people, and that is something we must put right,” says biologist Paul Ehrlich.
Read our article, Pope Francis Feels Our Pain
Mental Anguish Results
It’s terrifying to know the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets are melting, inevitably leading to massive sea level rise that submerges coasts and cities. That the permafrost is starting to melt, sending untold amounts of methane into the atmosphere. That there’s less oxygen in the ocean, slowing suffocating marine life. That our weather is becoming a pendulum that shifts from severe drought to severe wet, with ever more frequent and severe storms of all kinds.
Every year there’s more data showing it is getting worse … much faster than originally projected.
Climate scientists are on the front lines, attacked for their research, even as they deal with the psychological toll of knowing all this. And after almost three decades of solid research, they are still spinning their wheels against the pushback of climate deniers in the US. Some have moved to Europe.
“I don’t know of a single scientist that’s not having an emotional reaction to what is being lost,” says Nobel Prize winning Camille Parmesan in the report, “The Psychological Effects of Global Warming on the United States: And Why the U.S. Mental Health Care System is Not Adequately Prepared.” “It’s gotten to be so depressing that I’m not sure I’m going back to this particular [coral reef] site again because I just know I’m going to see more and more of it dead, and bleached, and covered with brown algae.” She’s been researching the reef since 2002.
But the truth is, many of us feel despair.
Studies show that living through extreme weather events can cause mental health problems like anxiety disorders, depression and alcohol and drug abuse … and aggression. The Climate Psych Alliance is working to raise awareness about the link between emotional trauma and climate change. There’s also despair associated with the loss of nature.
“You can see how desperate, angry, despairing people are,” she said. “It’s a legitimate response to what people see as inaction, intentional inaction… Whether we know it or not, whether you accept it or not, everyone experiences climate anxiety,” psychologist Dr. Van Susteran told CBS News.
“Living in a stable, predictable environment is important to people’s mental health and well-being, and that’s often underestimated,” says Australian psychologist Susie Burke, whose work shows how environmental degradation impact human happiness. “Well-being is more than just the absence of injury or disease; it is also about human flourishing and resilience,” says a report by the American Psychological Association about the psychological impacts of climate change.
Soon we could have terms that describe the situation: eco-anxiety, climate depression, apocalypse fatigue.
The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, created in 2011 to help climate scientists resist attacks, expects renewed action under Trump’s Administration. “Trump is a bully and has emboldened a whole trove of people who have become bolder and meaner. That includes those who will target climate scientists. I’ve spoken to a scientist who received a death threat and is concerned it will happen again,”executive director Lauren Kurtz told The Guardian.
“We are hearing a real sense of despair from people at federal agencies,” Rebecca Lave, a professor at Indiana University, told The Guardian. She’s been volunteering to help protect federal environmental data on independent servers.