Introduction How do people feel about global warming? We are told by scientists and activists that, if we are to mitigate its worst predicted consequences, we must act decisively and immediately. The science of climate change tells us that global warming is genuinely dangerous and statistically inevitable. It is also immediate, it is happening now. Its effects have been evident for many years and will become more severe in the coming decades. Emotions are the prime motivators of action, without them we do nothing. In popular discourse, emotions, particularly fear, play a more prominent role. This presentation considers some of the psychological effects of global warming in people, animals as well as some studies that demonstrate it.
What is Global Warming? “ Global Warming’ is the expected slow, gradual warming of the lower layers of the Earth’s lower atmosphere by the slowly increasing concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, and to a lesser extent methane. These gases trap infrared radiation , which is the “heat radiation” that cools the Earth. (In order for the Earth to remain at a constant temperature, the Earth must lose as much energy through infrared radiation as it gains from the sun. This concept is called energy balance.) The burning of fossil fuels, mainly petroleum and coal, produces carbon dioxide as one of the by-products”( Spencer. R, 2007)
of, pertaining to, dealing with, or affecting the mind, esp. as a function of awareness, feeling, or motivation : psychological play; psychological effect.
1. Certain level of concern and awareness: Apparent increases in global extreme continue to generate concern over this issue . 2. Pessimist and aggressive thoughts 3. Increase of anger 4. Increase a person willingness to hurt another person 5. Increase of violent crimes
International surveys demonstrate moderate to high perceived threat.
The threat level tend to be significantly less than those from other environmental and social problems.
“ Some experts have drawn a direct correlation between rising temperatures and an increase in aggressive and violent behavior, including violent crime.”(Anderson, C., PhD, 2007)
An example of aggressive and violent behavior would be when a group of “eco-terrorists” nearly destroyed car dealership in Maryland in 2003
The next example is truly unbelievable. A group of eco-terrorists destroyed a housing complex in San Diego, which was easily worth a whopping $50 million. Which was incidentally considered to be “too luxurious and energy-consuming that same year.” (Anderson, C., PhD, 2007)
sick over desperate scenarios of environmental catastrophe
Psychologists say eco-terrorism might be an extreme display of “eco-anxiety,” the new buzz word in mental health: An increasing number of people are literally worrying themselves in their mind.
Negative Psychological Effects
Studies have shown … “ In the 1990's the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reported on two studies that examined the relation between hotness of year and violent crime rate in the United States from 1950 to 1995. One study found that summer produced more violent crime—murders and assaults—than the other seasons. If high temperature was a direct cause of the summer effect, then years with more hot days (days in which the maximum temperature is at least 90F) would have somewhat larger increases in murder and assault than years with fewer hot days. This prediction was confirmed by the data.”( Anderson, C., PhD , 2007)
Is it possible to suffer from a sort of disorder due to the current stress of the environment?
It is called the Eco-Anxiety
It causes people to feel anxiety, depression, even insomnia.
Also known as Global Warming Stress Syndrome (GWSS)
People sometimes think they have to make big changes in their life, when sometimes it’s the little things that might be what matters most. Such as recycling, turning off lights, unplugging electrical items and carpooling can go a long way.
“ Children can also suffer from anxiety over the planet. Experts suggest getting them involved in a recycling program or planting a garden.”(2008)
loss of appetite
a "buzzing" under the skin — an eerie feeling that their cells are twitching
A sense of helplessness
A belief that mankind causes every bad event
frequent bowel movements
Some Symptoms of Eco-Anxiety
As of now the only specific treatment known is therapy. Though questionable, there is such a profession as eco-therapists.
There is no cure for Eco-Anxiety, but anxiety of this type is most commonly caused by a misunderstanding of probability.
http:// video eco-anxiety
“ Since April, there is been a 32.817% increase in public cases of GWSS.” (2008)
“ The rate now is almost double what it was this time last year.”( Briggs, W. 2008)
Is considered to be a communicable disease.
Most people infected are people of weak minds and are easily influenced .
A serious increase in Anxiety
What is the evidence for this direct link between hot temperature and aggressive behavior?
Experiments have shown that simply being in a hot room makes people feel angrier than being in a comfortable room
State of mind is altered
Aggressive thoughts increase
The way global warming directly effects schoolchildren is that there have been several attempts to educate children in specific and different manners.
Depending on their typical understanding of the science programs use to target global warming awareness.
These programs encourage schoolchildren to become more active in the environment and that any little action counts.
Psychological Effects on Children
Psychological Effects on Animals
“ Animals are just reacting to what's going on out there. And if their behavior is very similar to what we expect with what's going on with global warming -- if they're shifting and they're moving, if they're changing their breeding time by 5 days in 10 years -- we can use that information to support what the thermometers are also showing.”(Than, K. 2005)
Positive Psychological Effects
Not everything associated with Global Warming is negative. The silver lining is how its finally impacting some people.
People can do something about it
Slow down the process of global warming
Conclusion As you can see, an understanding of fear and how it works suggests that trying to scare us into action, as many of the popular texts on global warming seek to do, could be counter-productive. We need to find alternatives to fear more appropriate emotional stimuli to motivate an effective response to global warming. Finding those alternatives could be the most urgent and important problem the human sciences ever have to address. Global warming represent a serious issue that deserves careful consideration.