Fear, “apathy” and self-cauterisation around #climate change

So the obvious question is why aren’t tens of thousands of people involved in the “Just Stop Oil” actions?

There are loads of different answers to this question, that will convince different people.

I don’t think it is as simple as “people think climate change isn’t a big deal” or “people don’t like to Get involved” or “Just Stop Oil are crypto-fascist/communist/anarchist/whatever”.

But I am hella shorta time, and am just gonna put the following, from a book published in 1971, out there.

The author quotes a psychiatrist

“People cannot risk being overwhelmed by anxiety which might accompany a full cognitive and effective [? affective?] grasp of the present world situation and its implications for the future. It serves a man no useful purpose to accept this truth if to do so leads only to the development of very disquieting feelings, feelings which interfere with his capacity to be productive, to maintain his mental equilibrium.”

and then riffs in useful ways (which is why I’ve included the next page.)


We have known this problem for ages. But environmental social movement organisations steer clear of helping people process emotions, because of the risk of becoming (seen to be) cults, and because the professional types who achieve dominant positions in these movement organisations are either fearful of their own (let alone others’) emotions, or terrible at really dealing with other people’s fears (because, well, it’s really really difficult!).

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