At this stage, no one can deny that climate change is a reality that needs to be addressed immediately. Although many non-governmental organizations and groups have advocated and fought for years for social awareness, the rebalancing of resources and sustainability, it was not until the Swedish activist appeared on the scene, Greta Thunberg — named the most influential person of 2019 by Time magazine — when the real focus has been on a problem that affects us all, without exception.
When we talk about climate change, the first thing that comes to mind are the adverse effects on the environment and the possible consequences on our physical health. However, we don’t stop to think about something also fundamental: the significant cost it has and will have on our mental health.
Traumas and shocks resulting from natural disasters as a result of physical damage, loss of people, property, etc will affect our mental health significantly. This is pointed out by a report made by the World Health Organization (WHO) and another by the American Psychological Association and Ecoamerica that consider fear, fear of loss of well-being, anger and many other negative emotions can cause post-traumatic disorders.
At the same time, two terms have already been coined with which we should begin to become familiar: Ecoanxiety and Solastalgia. The first concerns the chronic fear of the destruction of the environment and the second is a neologism that defines the consequence of having to emigrate because of natural disasters. Both terms are understood as frustration, demotivation and, in the most acute cases, anxiety and depression in response to the planet’s environmental problems. A clear example of this is that, when rainy days comes, we feel a less full and energetic life activity.
In a way, all emotional unrest is linked to a sense of frustration, due to the limited power of individual actions in the midst of human collectivity and societies. The individual is helpless in the face of the magnitude of the problems that surround him. It is clear that, globally, there is an increase in the syndrome of distress with respect to the ecosystem, together with the increase corresponding to the personal problems (work, economy, various difficulties) of the individual throughout the planet.
The specific role of global environmental challenges in establishing territoriality and identity will also be explored in the future development of these concepts. Climate change means a change for the worse, not only for the Earth’s natural conditions, but also a serious disruption in human relations, in the conditions of survival and in the development of all individuals and the society in which we move. To fight to save oceans and lands is to fight for our own lives. And to preserve the balance of our mental health.