Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Off the Deep End: Navigating the Climate Crisis & Eco-Distress

No, it's not a joke, or the Babylon Bee, it's a real website at a real top university, which a number of readers of this blog have probably graduated from or donate money to.
Dialogue Circle: Navigating the Climate Crisis 
The climate crisis has been impactful and many have turned to activism and supporting environmental justice movements. This is very meaningful work and can also create a sense of despair, burnout, anger, hopelessness, and other distressing emotions. CPS counselors will help to facilitate a conversation and create a supportive space to process such experiences.  
Mindfulness and Eco-Anxiety 
Eco-anxiety is the fear we feel (sometimes acutely, sometimes as an underlying dread) about the climate crisis. Join in a discussion of how you experience eco-anxiety, and how mindfulness can help us respond to it. We’ll discuss managing worry loops, staying compassionate with difficult feelings and purpose-based coping, as well as practice a mindfulness meditation.  
Forest Therapy 
Forest therapy provides a chance to connect, slow down, and cope with the stressors of life, including eco-distress and other emotional experiences related to the climate crisis.
The jokes write themselves. An alternative suggestion: Spend some time learning and listening before activisting. Bjorn Lonborg's website is a good place to start.  You'll be just as upset, but for different reasons. In the meantime, where is the safe space for traumatized libertarians or people who wish for basic facts in public policy? 

Update: I seem not to be able to post comments to my own blog. A response to JZ who disparages Bjorn Lonborg, and praises the impartial science of the IPCC. Here are some choice quotes from the latest IPCC report. "Confidence" means scientific confidence that the quoted steps are necessary to reduce global temperatures
D3.2. ... adaptation projects can.. increase gender and social inequality... adaptations [must i] that include attention to poverty and sustainable development (high confidence).

D6. Sustainable development supports, and often enables, the fundamental societal and systems transitions and transformations that help limit global warming... in conjunction with poverty eradication and efforts to reduce inequalities [high confidence]….  
D6.1. Social justice and equity are core aspects of climate-resilient development pathways that aim to limit global warming to 1.5°C...  
D7.2. Cooperation on strengthened accountable multilevel governance that includes non-state actors such as industry, civil society and scientific institutions, coordinated sectoral and cross-sectoral policies at various governance levels, gender-sensitive policies.... (high confidence).  
D7.4. Collective efforts at all levels, ... taking into account equity as well as effectiveness, can facilitate strengthening the global response to climate change, achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty (high confidence)
Don't you love all that a-political, hard-nosed, reproducible, quantifiable, always skeptical science?


  1. You know, this sort of stuff is no longer surprising, but it is riotous.

    We must not fall into the substance trap -- none of this is about climate change. It's all about customers buying into, or allowed into, therapy, typically of a religious kind. If that's where high class universities believe their future supporters will come from, they will need lots of luck to continue to thrive.

  2. The events are funny, but why do you take Bjorn seriously?

    1. Because he is a good economist who does serious work.

  3. Sorry, but, what is the problem with Lomborg?
    The guy deals with facts. This is positive economics - either you refute them or they are correct. You may not like his opinions, fine, but that is normative economics territory.

    1. I think John is saying you will be upset that none of the policies being put forward by any candidates seems to have anything common with Bjorn's suggested initiatives. All the proposals seem to fall into the "Green Mania" category of ineffective and wasteful. That is how I read it anyway.

    2. Manfred ... I think you took the comment about Lomborg for a 180 degree turn

  4. Everything you need to know about the climate crisis fanaticism is in Eric Hoffer's fine little book "The True Believer." A quote: "For though ours is a godless age, it is the very opposite of irreligious. The true believer is everywhere on the march, and both by converting and antagonizing he is shaping the world in his own image. And whether we are to line up with him or against him, it is well that we should know all we can concerning his nature and potentialities."

  5. Libertarians don't need safe spaces. As DDE said, “If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.”

    BTW the planet is fine. Over billions of years it has been a ball of magma and a huge ball of ice. Trilobites and dinosaurs inhabited the earth for millions of years. They're gone, earth Carrie's on.

    What climate alarmists really want is for everything to stay the same. The earth could care less. As Bill Bryson said, as far as the planet is concerned we're just a bad case of head lice.

    When my older daughter was considering careers I told her that given her skill set she should consider pain management (my specialty), financial advisor, weather man, or economist.

    When she asked why I told her those are fields where you can be wrong most of the time and still make decent money.

  6. These people could not be more self-conscious in drawing attention to themselves.

  7. “...many have turned to activism and supporting environmental justice movements. This is very meaningful work and can also create a sense of despair, burnout, anger, hopelessness, and other distressing emotions.”

    Ah, “environmental justice”. “Justice” is a term used by many, if not most, without defining exactly what “justice” one is talking about in a particular discussion. In this particular case the discussion surrounds Cosmic Justice.

    Yep, social justice for nature.

    Problem is, a super deity at the dawn of time did not exist to lay out the rules for Cosmic Justice and therefore did not implement Cosmic Justice. One can clearly wish for Cosmic Justice, but it is merely wishful thinking (a mirage).

    So... if one suffers from “a sense of despair, burnout, anger, hopelessness, and other distressing emotions” regarding environmental justice, one is then NOT suffering from the same despair as the desert traveler that in the end indeed realizes a mirage is nonexistent. Rather, one is suffering from the despair of believing in, perpetuating, and otherwise creating a living, breathing, thinking, decision making Cosmic Justice entity ...out of the mirage, and deeming it as continuously existent.

  8. Cochrane asks, "where is the safe space for … people who wish for basic facts in public policy?" 

    He might have responded, "to get at the truth about climate change, go and read a consensus statement from a distinguished scientific body. For example, see the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

    But no, instead Cochrane refers us to a right-wing dissident scientist's personal web site. As a matter of science, how very disappointing.

    1. Cochrane replies dismissively above: "Here are some choice quotes from the latest IPCC report."

      Of course, Cochrane the distinguished scholar recognizes the logical fallacy in this stance here against the IPCC's work. (Hint: critically important context is omitted from these excerpts of the IPCC report.)

      This illustrates a larger point: some professors, perhaps as a welcome respite from more demanding intellectual work, also indulge in polemics. These academics, being human, also enjoy a bit of public venting, ranting and other displays of emotional reasoning, with the rest of us. (Harald Uhlig's tweets are a recent case in point.) This behavior occurs on both the left and the right.

      A really pernicious result may arise, however, from this admixture of scholarship and polemics, I believe, as we collectively struggle with hyper-partisanship and tribalism. It is pouring gasoline on the fire. We should expect those with greater ability to behave more responsibly.


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