Q. There have been so many disasters in one short month. I want to do my part to help, and I know that that kind of aid is a long game. This feels horrible to say: I just feel myself caring less and less. Harvey was shocking, Irma was distressing, and Maria felt … exhausting. There’s so much destruction, and it doesn’t stop. What can I do?
Gloomy and Guilty About It
A. Of course this feels awful — not just the onslaught of disasters but our guilt at not being able to respond to them as we want to, to be the person we imagine ourselves to be.
If you’re feeling this way — exhausted, indifferent, culpable — rest assured, you’re not alone. In the face of so many crises in a row, we’re all exhausted. News coverage diminished for Hurricane Maria after Irma and Harvey, but FiveThirtyEight found that the number of people seeking information on Hurricane Maria also dropped significantly after Irma, as measured by Google searches.
This may be due to “disaster fatigue,” when prolonged exposure to news coverage of disasters causes potential donors or volunteers to lose motivation. To try and understand how to fight it, we can look to its more ac... Read more