What exactly are Global Environmental Problems?
Many of you will be reading this post because you are interested in participating in This Is Research. You’ll notice the recruitment website uses the term global environmental problems (GEP), and emotional reactions to them, but does not define the problems explicitly. Let me be clear, this is by design.
The scale and scope of GEP is difficult to quantify, and unprecedented in human history. Ambiguity around these issues alone can be enough to cause anxiety in some people.
I am not a physicist, meteorologist, nor an atmospheric scientist, but I will be a psychologist. As a psychologist I believe that the problems themselves are less important than your appraisal of them, which is not to diminish the severity GEP and the challenges facing society. Some examples that come to mind include, change in global atmospheric climate, increasing rates of species extinction, deforestation, desertification, water scarcity and quality, soil degradation, reliance on fossil fuels, etc. As you’ll notice, these challenges are intimately related with a wide array of social, political, and economic implications.
How you make meaning of your emotions relating to these overarching societal problems, specifically those related to the global environment, will have implications for the types of solutions available to us in the future.
Perhaps you don’t think you feel anything (feel numb), perhaps your eyes well-up with tears (feel sadness), or you want to scream at the top of your lungs (feel anger). And maybe, just maybe, if enough people work through those emotions, we can find a sustainable future together.