Here are 4 ways climate change is messing with our brains — for the worse.
We might think of climate change as purely physical: wildfires blazing through forests, rising seas lapping at the doors of coastal homes.
But those brutal conditions also affect our mental health, changing how we think and act. Mental health professionals are paying attention to the link between climate change and emotional health — and health insurance companies are, too.
Here are some of the impacts they’re concerned about. (Hat tip: CBS.)
- Disasters like floods, tornadoes, and drought have been found to trigger PTSD, anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.
- Slight increases in heat or rainfall have been found to raise the risk of riots and civil wars, as well as crimes like rape and murder.
- Babies in the womb who are exposed to urban air pollutants from fossil fuels are more likely to develop anxiety or depression later in life.
- Many people now experience “climate anxiety” — feeling depressed and overwhelmed by you-know-what — and support groups have emerged to help them.
That’s just the beginning of what we’re in for. So time to calm down, screw our heads on straight, and get to work fixing the climate problem.