The next global mental-health crisis is about climate change – by Britt Wray (Toronto Star – April 28, 2022)

COVID created a second, mental-health pandemic. The one sparked by climate change will be worse. And already young people are the ones hit hardest

In the summer of 2019 — Australia’s infamous Black Summer—I texted with my friend Catherine, who lives in Sydney, from my comfortable home in Toronto. Her country was engulfed in bushfires. Over that summer more than 12 million acres burned and an estimated 3 billion animals were killed or displaced, and many of us watched it unfold in real time with a deep sense of horror.

Catherine and I sent messages back and forth on WhatsApp as 2019 turned into 2020 and the flames did not subside. What I remember most from that time is the mixed feeling of despair and “survivor guilt.”

My sense of helplessness made it hard to know what to say. The artist/activists at the climate-focused Bureau of Linguistical Reality have not yet coined a word for it, so I’d like to do so now: “whatsappathy.” An excerpt from our thread:

Nov. 20, 2019 C: It’s scary 🙁 omg so many dead animals and important populations of koalas burnt, and so many less cute animals Super low air quality in Sydney like real foggy It’s ashy but smells like honey People are wearing air masks and asthmatic kids not going to school (skull emoji) Me: That’s so crazy Wow so sad 🙁

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