The health of young people should be a focal point in the larger contest of social narratives.
Today, Nate is joined by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Professor Haidt is one of the leaders in the understanding of human biases and predispositions, and how they affect cooperation, communication, and change-making.
In an age now widely described as the Anthropocene, the conventionally held distinction between sanity and insanity is at risk of collapsing … and taking our civilisation with it.
In fact there’s a wealth of evidence to support the idea that books can help to boost good mental health. ‘Bibliotherapy,’ a term first coined by American essayist Samuel Crothers in a 1916 issue of Atlantic Monthly, means the art of using literature and reading as a healing activity. It’s widely accepted as a way to enhance wellbeing.
All of this reinforces what I wrote in those two earlier essays, that ultimately our species is happier when challenged to behave in the ways we evolved to behave: to protect ourselves and others, to struggle for our survival, to live in community, to eat less and “relax” less and instead feel that surviving each day is a triumph.
Whether we manage to find our way through depends primarily on what goes on inside our minds – on whether we’re able to manage our mental and emotional states at a time of extraordinary turbulence; whether we reach for the right stories to explain what’s happening at this moment in history; and above all, whether enough of us can see ourselves as part of a larger ‘Us’ instead of a ‘them-and-us,’ or just an atomised ‘I.’
In place of the banal tautology of 19th century utilitarianism we need a deep study of the relationship between economic activity and mental health because this marketing assault, this religion of consumerism, has many aspects that do not appear to be doing us any good.
Instead of focusing only on piecemeal solutions for various forms of social ills, we must consider that the real and lasting solution is a new economy designed for all people, not only for the ruling corporate elite.
Overall, the consensus in the scientific literature is that climate change will increase the number of people exposed to extreme events and, therefore, to subsequent psychological problems, such as worry, anxiety, depression, distress, loss, grief, trauma and even suicide.
Five years after Sandy hit, the rate of adult psychiatric hospitalizations on the Rockaway Peninsula is nearly double that of New York City as a whole. To address the ongoing crisis, the city’s health department is working with a local community group to connect residents with preventative care and fill in the gaps in neighborhoods where a warming climate is likely to bring more Sandy-like storms and strain limited public health resources.
In considering the Sun Hive alongside my personal experiences of distress, I do not mean to use the bees as a metaphor, to plunder nature for her poetry. Instead I wish to suggest that our reductive attitudes towards both bees and human health may be symptomatic of a prevailing mindset of exploitation and control.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking about sustainable growing in strictly environmental terms.