The News Is Bad – So Take Care of Yourselves
By Georgia Wright
Conditions are ripe for a perfect storm of doomerism this week, and it’s up to us to prepare accordingly. The cause du jour? On Monday, the U.N. International Panel for Climate Change, or IPCC, is slated to release yet another earth-shaking report. It's the first of three such reports in the next year that will collectively make up the panel’s sixth major climate assessment since the ‘90s. And those of you reading this newsletter will not be surprised to learn that their findings are projected to be, uh, not great. Gird your loins.
I’m not the first to point out that this means there’s going to be an onslaught of downright dystopian headlines in the news this week. They will be designed for maximum terror. And for those of us, like me, who are prone to incapacitating climate grief and anxiety, browsing the internet is going to be a mental health minefield.
This setup reminds me of something my mom and I talked about when I was a kid. I was an anxious child who often ruminated at length about the worst things that might happen to me and my loved ones (undiagnosed OCD will do that). So when I took part in our school’s D.A.R.E. program, and was forced to watch corny Hallmark movies about teens dying dramatic deaths due to substance abuse, for example, I would go home virtually shaking with terror. I’d obsess about this scared-straight media for weeks on end, convinced I’d die from the vague cause of “drugs.”
My mom would say to me, “Sweetie, listen. Those movies, all of the scary language, that’s not for you.” What she meant was: you little anxious child, you’re already scared of the things of which they’re trying to warn you. You’re already cautious. You don’t need to saturate yourself with media you know will push you over the edge. It’s not productive to obsess over dangers that you are already afraid of – so please, honey, create a little distance. Make sure you take care of yourself.
It’s advice that I am resolved to take this week, and I’d urge you to do the same. As you’re exposed to headlines that are crafted to grab the attention of the disengaged, don’t let fear eat you alive. You’re already here, aren’t you? Instead of panicking, stay your course. Call your senators. Take a walk. Go to a protest. Do what you need to do to sustain your involvement in this movement. If not for yourself, do it for the climate. We can’t afford burnout – we’re in this bitch for the long haul.
The Media Needs a Reckoning
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
July was chock full of extreme weather and disasters. So much so that people outside of the usual climate sphere started talking (and screaming and crying) about climate change. You’d think the media would have followed suit. And you would have been wrong.
In July, the global media attention to climate change increased just 4 percent from the previous month. In the United States, print media coverage increased by 15 percent, but television coverage decreased by 18 percent. How in the literal hell?