Analysis & Comment

Opinion | Climate Change Anxiety and Therapy

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To the Editor:

Re “Anxiety Over Climate Change Lands on the Therapist’s Couch” (front page, Feb. 7):

Just as physical activity can alleviate anxiety and depression, climate activism can counter feelings of helplessness and despair.

Participating in demonstrations or writing to lawmakers is a start. Even better is working on specific projects with a group of other activists. Action with other people lifts the mood and lets individuals feel agency and meaning.

Bonus: Activism moves the needle on addressing the climate crisis itself.

Stephanie Doba

To the Editor:

I felt tremendous relief reading an article that brings awareness about the existence, increasingly common, of “climate anxiety.”

I’d like to highlight Dr. Thomas Doherty’s emphasis, mentioned in the article, on the corporate construct that cleverly shifts the responsibility of a carbon footprint onto each individual. This is similar to the way the petrochemical and plastics industries have shifted all responsibility for recycling, particularly of the packaging they create, onto the individual, although the responsibility for recycling plastics should lie with the manufacturers.

Mary Englert
Portland, Ore.
The writer is a retired licensed professional counselor.

To the Editor:

The world’s children are making a tremendous difference by speaking out about the crisis of climate change. But it is on us, the adults who have watched the evidence of climate change mount for decades, to do our share to help solve it.

Encouraging the mind-set that only corporations and elected officials can solve this is weak and illogical. Who elects the elected officials? Who buys from the corporations? Do we not have choices? We can bring about more climate-friendly corporate and government choices by choosing, supporting and speaking up for the ones that are already available.

Taking constructive action to solve problems is good for our mental health.

Tom Flynn
Larkspur, Calif.

To the Editor:

On a bad day, I can’t fight the feelings of frustration and anxiety about the climate catastrophe humans have brought about. Even on my good days, I know that the big polluters are still running amok.

What keeps me going and motivates me to work every day for a restored climate? A number of promising carbon dioxide removal (C.D.R.) solutions are in various stages of development and deployment. Combined with the mitigation of new emissions, restoring our climate by bringing carbon dioxide back to levels at which humans and ecosystems thrived for millenniums is possible.

Whether through technological means like directly capturing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turning it into synthetic limestone for concrete, or through natural means like kelp forests, we are already beginning to restore the climate.

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