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WHORE MEDIA: ‘Climate Despair’ Is Making People Give Up on Life…”It’s super painful to be a human being right now at this point in history.”

In the summer of 2015—the warmest year on record at the time—it was the literal heat that got to Meg Ruttan Walker, a 37-year-old former teacher in Kitchener, Ontario. “Summers have been stressful to me since having my son,” said Ruttan Walker, who is now an environmental activist. “It’s hard to enjoy a season that’s a constant reminder that the world is getting warmer.”

“I think my anxiety just reached a peak,” Ruttan Walker continued. It felt like there was nowhere to go, and although she had spoken to her primary care doctor about anxiety, she hadn’t sought help with her mental health. Suddenly, she was contemplating self-harm. “Though I don’t think I would have hurt myself, I didn’t know how to live with the fear of… the apocalypse, I guess? My son was home with me and I had to call my friend over to watch him because I couldn’t even look at him without breaking down,” Ruttan Walker said. She eventually checked herself into an overnight mental health facility.

Her case is extreme, but many people are suffering from what could be called “climate despair,” a sense that climate change is an unstoppable force that will render humanity extinct and renders life in the meantime futile. As David Wallace-Wells noted in his 2019 bestseller The Uninhabitable Earth, “For most who perceive an already unfolding climate crisis and intuit a more complete metamorphosis of the world to come, the vision is a bleak one, often pieced together from perennial eschatological imagery inherited from existing apocalyptic texts like the Book of Revelation, the inescapable sourcebook for Western anxiety about the end of the world.”

“Climate despair” has been a phrase used at least as far back as Eric Pooley’s 2010 book, The Climate War: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth, but it’s been in wide circulation for perhaps as little as two years. In more progressive Sweden, the term klimatångest has been popular since at least 2011 (the year a Wikipedia article with that name was created). In The Uninhabitable Earth, Wallace-Wells notes that the philosopher Wendy Lynne Lee calls this phenomenon “eco-nihilism,” the Canadian politician and activist Stuart Parker prefers “climate nihilism,” and others have tried out terms like “human futilitarianism.”

Whatever you call it, this is undeniably a real condition, if not one with a set of formal diagnostic criteria. (It may reach that status—it took decades for “burnout” to be declared an official “occupational phenomenon” by the World Health Organization.) It’s impossible to know how many people like Ruttan Walker have experienced climate despair as a mental health crisis, but despair is all around us: in our own momentary but intense reactions to the latest bit of climate news, in pitch-black memes and jokes about human extinction, even in works of philosophy and literature. There is now a fringe group of scientists and writers who not only take our imminent doom as an article of faith, but seem to welcome it.

CONTINUE @ WHORE MEDIA