"Global Mourning"--Clive Thompson in Wired

I'm just now catching up with the January 2008 issue of Wired, and found this, from Clive Thompson's one-pager "Global Mourning: How the Next Victim of Climate Change Will Be Our Minds," interesting:

Australia is suffering through its worst dry spell in a millennium. The outback has turned into a dust bowl, crops are dying off at fantastic rates, cities are rationing water, coral reefs are dying, and the agricultural base is evaporating.

But what really intrigues Glenn Albrecht--a philosopher by training--is how his fellow Australians are reacting.

They're getting sad.

In interviews Albrecht conducted over the past few years, scores of Australians described their deep, wrenching sense of loss as they watch the landscape around them change. Familiar plants don't grow any more. Gardens won't take. Birds are gone. "They no longer feel like they know the place they've lived for decades," he says.

Albrecht believes that this is a new type of sadness. People are feeling displaced. They're suffering symptoms eerily similar to those of indigenous populations that are forcibly removed from their traditional homelands. But nobody is being relocated; they haven't moved anywhere. It's just that the familiar markers of their area, the physical and sensory signals that define home, are vanishing. Their environment is moving away from them, and they miss it terribly...

[It's a] fascinating new way to think about the impact of global warming. Everyone's worried about resource management and the spooky, unpredictable changes in the ecosystem...sea levels...clean water...species...that'll go extinct.

But we should also be concerned about the huge toll climate change will inflict on our mental health...

[italics Thompson's. Pg. 70, Jan 2008 Wired]

1 comment:

JimK said...

The shifts more than the overall
will whack folks. Australia's net
water loss, I think. US Southeast
is going from wet to droughts now..
deserts expand east, basically.
Bad for Calif., Ariz., etc.. The
Northeast US gains, though. We are
in storms and floods now. Freeze/thaw
ripping up the roadbeds. Should have
fallen on Georgia, Tennessee farms.
Their dams are going dry. This is
the "Anthropocene Epoch" officially.