I recently finished reading a book by Lucy Jones called “Losing Eden”. It’s a compelling overview of the psychological effects of climate change and massive species extinctions on the human mind.
Like so many studies and projections into the future of the planet, “Losing Eden” is a litany of what humans have done to the planet and what we still could do to reverse the ongoing devastation and catastrophe. apparently inevitable.
One of the mental effects Jones talks about that I noticed in myself is something called “Ecological mourning”, sadness in the face of the changes in nature that I see around me. The feeling grew stronger throughout the summer when I saw a dramatic drop in the number and types of butterflies in my yard and garden.
I went through the five stages of grief to see what I might be going through.
The first step: denial. I had, but the events of summer and fall put an end to it. The second step: Anger: I felt too helpless to be angry. The third step: negotiation. With who? The Fourth Stage: Depression: well, yes. The fifth step: Acceptance and adaptation: well, that is the challenge.
Lucy Jones provides a litany of things one can do to fight ecological armageddon, from not flying on planes to not buying food wrapped in plastic.
But it all seems impossibly too much. When it comes to ecological mourning, numbness, hopelessness and passivity are more likely to be the final stages leading back to denial and indifference.
These are the most dangerous stages of all.
This is Bill Felker with poor Will Almanack. I’ll be back next week with notes for the second week of Early Winter. In the meantime, maybe the first step beyond all of this is to figure it out. Are you in denial … or maybe you haven’t really thought about it?