chapter  3
23 Pages

The diffi cult problem of anxiety in thinking about climate change


Many environmentalists and policymakers stress the importance of not making people feel anxious when telling them about climate change. However, anthropogenic global warming is anxiety-provoking. Being able to bear anxiety is a vital part of being able to face reality, as we know that when anxiety becomes too much to bear, our thinking can become irrational and start to lack proportion. This chapter is on anxiety. I fi rst explore the subject of anxiety and then look at what might be our central anxieties about climate change. It is important that we identify these and also that we seek to know as much as we can about the effects of our anxieties about climate change on our capacity to think and act. I conclude by looking at some implications for policy about how to engage people about climate change.