Essay by Eric Worrall
“… I had to tell them something that would wake them up.”
To Address Climate Change, This Psychiatrist Goes Where No One Has Gone Before
November 29, 2022
H. Steven Moffic, MD
Psychiatry and inner space—closer than you think.
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
In my November 15, 2022, column, “I SCREAM for More Climate Action!” I bemoaned the slowness of society and psychiatry to help reduce climate change and instability. I asked for creative ways to obtain climate attention. I found one by serendipity.
While writing what became the column “A Day of Launching Dreams and Nightmares,” I had CNN on in the background. I was catching a bit about someone who was flying balloons around the earth to save fossil fuel. Then he was being interviewed and I stopped writing to listen. To my great surprise, he was also identified as a Swedish psychiatrist: Bertrand Piccard, MD. I had never heard of him.
… In 1999, Bertrand made history with the first nonstop balloon flight around the world, topping that in 2016 when he did the same with a solar-powered airplane.
“My experience as a psychiatrist is that you have to speak the language of the people you want to convince. . . I had to tell them something that would wake them up.”
I’ve got to admit, there is something catchy about the vision of psychiatrists riding balloons around the planet shouting to everyone to wake up about climate change.
I thought of making a wisecrack about cutting back on participation in psychotropic drug trials, but I believe the real culprit is CNN.
The author admitted CNN was on in the background when inspiration struck. Think about the psychological damage watching and listening to CNN all day might cause. Perhaps the distress caused by constant exposure to CNN sometimes leads to deep rooted fantasies of running away and leaving the planet, even when CNN is just playing as background noise.