Climate Change, Media, Psychology & the Denial of Death

Climate Change, Media, Psychology & the Denial of Death
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

On the standard, commercial television channels we hear about extreme weather virtually every single day. Droughts in the southwest hardly seen since the days of the Dust Bowl and bizarre weather such as we saw this winter of snow in Houston, vast wildfires in California, mudslides north of Seattle and massive flooding in nothing other than hip and affluent Boulder, Colorado have besieged our beautiful country and world.

It very much appears that nowhere any longer is secure from unpredictable and precipitous, extreme weather.

Internationally, we have seen an earthquake coincide with a tsunami in Japan coinciding then with the nuclear disaster of Fukushima. It continues to radiate far and wide. A tsunami in the Philippines and a powerful earthquake in Northern Chile are but a few examples of the extreme weather our planet has been experiencing in the last few years.

But as one hears the CNN coverage of these disasters, rather astonishingly, one hears little reference to what might be causes of extreme weather. Global Warming or Climate Change are phrases one simply hears mainly mocked as pseudo-science if one hears them at all on the nightly news.

Along with other sciences the advanced science of climatology could potentially educate us about how to reduce our carbon footprint and help us onto "another footing for the future" (and avert disaster), but this kind of education has been marginalized by the media-makers in exchange for money, control and business-as-usual. Thankfully there are some departures in schools from the usual "programs".

The absence of even minimal intellectual curiosity in the commercial media about what might be the causes of extreme weather occurring planetarily leaves one to wonder about the nature of public discourse and its need for an evolutionary step.

My last article in the HuffPost discussed different forms of intelligence. I wonder just what kind of unusual form these media moguls have when money and power appear to have exclusive hold of their thinking. This 'thinking' may leave their own children without a survivable environment. Perhaps there is a form of intelligence which is profoundly immoral, foolish and selfish that I haven't yet fully considered.

NASA scientists and those climatologists who are paid with tax dollars to advise the Pentagon regarding serious national security issues raised by Climate Change I believe would be available TV interviews.

What accounts for the media blackout on thinking about causes of this non-stop cycle of extreme weather across the planet that may never actually abate?

You may notice that this blackout does not exist in alternative media--to the contrary. Interviews with leading climatologists and environmental scientists are frequent on such programs as Progressive Radio Network, Democracy Now,Gerald Celente, A Better World Radio & TV and actually many others.

Critical thinking is valued as is the thoughtful review of data aggregated over decades of examining weather patterns in relation to human activity affecting our atmosphere, soil and water.

Most major corporations are enormous polluters and are responsible directly or indirectly for our nation's disproportionately enormous carbon footprint. To ask too many questions, such as "why is the weather so woolly these days?" could ultimately lead to them being obliged, ethically or legally, to change their polluting practices.

This isn't perceived typically as a welcomed change to "do the right thing" but as a form of death, to their bottom lines and also likely, to their ego and sense of identity.

And then there are some large corporations that fully 'get' the danger we're in as a species and are taking significant measures to diversify, go green, conserve energy. A Better World Radio interview I conducted with Hunter Lovins and Boyd Cohen on their book Climate Capitalism speaks of the changes occurring, of CEO's waking up.

Beneath the blackout in media and even the money trail, among people who really can think but rather choose not to do too much of it, to think about Climate Change is really perhaps the most menacing subject of all as it is tantamount to coming face to face with our own mortality. Even worse: it's death by suicide. Science and observation have made us painfully aware of the consequences of our actions.

Just as famed psychiatrist Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, describes in her classic, On Death & Dying, the stages of coming to terms with death, denial is the first stage. We simply do not want to think that we could die from the consumer habits we're so used to, so embedded they are in our lifestyle. That our behaviors, buying habits, not standing up for what we know is best have actual life-and-death consequences is, it seems, too much to bear.

We are a society governed by consumer-based entertainment-oriented media. We don't want to think that extreme weather and climate change, eco-system and species destruction will be a result of our driving our SUV to the beach (and the many other things which we all do). We just don't want to face the music we ourselves wrote.

Climatologists assert that our current course of consumption, our current carbon footprint and consuming-wasting lifestyle is most certainly leading to our own demise. We are heading toward the end of our species and many others as in what many, including writer Elizabeth Kolbert, call "the 6th Extinction".

We all know that we, in general, much prefer to deny the existence of death even though we know it's inevitable. To contemplate the real causes of Climate Change and its ever-obvious reality is to actually admit "My God, we are killing ourselves!" A hard pill to swallow, but it is nothing short of that.

We have to then ask ourselves "Are we masochists? Is our death wish so ever-present? Are we really so interested in maintaining status quo even though we see the suffering and destruction it is so obviously wielding?" As a holistic therapist, I would examine what is behind this death wish, what are we so profoundly not at peace with--what do we feel is so unworthy about ourselves that we wouldn't want to live for a long time a life of peace, health, humor and well-being?

Our personal psychology is what's at stake here as are our very lives. Yes, it's a systemic issue, of course. But at the end of the day, as members of the species, we have to live with the consequences of our own actions, realizing that our lifestyle can be greatly adversely affecting the life--and death, of our and other species.

We can also consciously reduce our footprint pretty quickly. By recognizing life and Nature as sacred, by encouraging same in others, we could gain ourselves a new and beautiful future.

This is potentially good news. Even at this late stage (yes, it's late) full disaster, it's been suggested, can still be averted. At the risk of sounding "Pollyann-ish", there really is reason for hope and to remain actually very optimistic. It's healthier for one and it is an attitude that could lead to something very positive as we become increasingly conscious of the damage we've done, what we really can do to reverse it and from this "new psychology", new understanding of our role in the "larger picture", build an exciting, new, sustainable future through personal and global re-education.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot