The social climate can be our greatest asset in the climate crisis. A new formula of mental health and civic health is needed to safeguard it.

Introducing the Billion Minds Institute.

Image for post
Image for post
Student climate strike, Sydney, September 20, 2019


The grinding progression of climate change can be disorienting. It expects people to change lifestyles and question life-goals while coming to terms with existential, planetary-sized, destruction. Many already face the direct consequences of disasters, displacement, and disruption in basic needs from specific climate events, or the chronic background awareness of a narrowing and forbidding future. …

It was a trenchant critique, and drew attention to our threatened social climate.

Image for post
Image for post
New York City — September 20, 2019

I joined the global student strike march in New York City last week, and then cringed at the thrust of much of the news and elected leader portrayals of it. …

Aggressive climate policies won’t stick without a social climate of local, citizen-led, implementation, support, and culture change.

Image for post
Image for post

Responses to climate change haven’t come close to match the massive impact and relentless pace of climate change itself. But even if political will gets behind broader change, can it take root in time?

Not without local muscle. The climate crisis desperately needs a ground game. We need to invest in a citizen-led “Climate Corps.” Anyone, anywhere, should have an equipped, empowered, local place to join that manages real progress towards a zero-emission world.

And that can’t wait for the next Presidential election.

The climate crisis is overwhelming in complexity and scope. It is also emotionally overwhelming to contemplate and comprehend. It is hard for people to swallow, or know how to respond. But it is precisely all-hands-on-deck civic engagement and distributed, substantive ownership of this crisis that is required for broad policy solutions, including Green New Deal-level commitments, to actually stick. …


Gary Belkin

Psychiatrist, historian, and public health leader who sees real innovation for mental health as a means to social justice & a sustainable human future

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store