Left Brain Or Right Brain: Reacting To The Climate Crisis by Verdura

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Is your first reaction to another news story about the Climate Crisis to emulate the subject of Munch’s Scream?

Science now tells us that there is no meaningful division between the left and right hemispheres of our brain, between analytical and creative/emotional. And yet the idea persists, at least as a metaphor. We all know some people whose immediate reaction to a problem is to draw up a decision matrix. And others who react by listening to music, looking at art, or just staring out of the window, waiting for an inspirational muse.

The world of science already caters for those who learn and function primarily through logic and quadratic equation, building block by building block. But the Climate Crisis (as shorthand for the multilayered ecological problems that now face us) is of such gravity that we now need also to bring on board those who are primarily ‘right-brained’ in order for us to react in tandem to mitigate it. Another way of saying this is that Yang and Yin are both needed, a function of dualism. Hence the creation of Greeneralia.

Are you suffering from Generational/General* Dread? And yes, it is a thing:

 Almost overnight, I’d turned into that annoying person who manages to bring up climate trauma in every discussion. And when I cried about the climate, it was real deep grief, like someone I loved had died. I also felt new levels of rage and scorn for people who didn’t seem to care about ecocide….

…there is nothing pathological about feeling eco-anxious; how psychiatric trauma sets in after fast moving climate disasters and slower moving ecological events; how social injustice – the kernel of climate change – affects emotional wellbeing; what individuals can do to cope when the dark scientific data in their head takes over; why the secret sauce for emotional resilience lies in community ties; and what kinds of system overhaul are needed to climate-proof the mental health system.

Dr Britt Wray

Dr Wray writes not only about individual ecological angst but also about how we can harness that angst in the interest of community and our collective future.

Watch her TED Talk on ‘How Climate Change Affects Your Mental Health’

For me, just looking at that expression of quiet determination on her face gives me some confidence that there may be a way out of our global pool of tears. Not just determination, but Kenneth Clark’s ‘Smile of Reason’?

Things You Can Do

-Follow the various links to find more about Dr Wray and her contribution to ‘wellbeing’ in the ecological sense.

-Follow her on Twitter here and get a sense of her journey by scrolling back through her tweets

-See whom she follows? I, for instance, discovered Daniel Rubin, who has the deceptively simple tag in a tweet:

Find Community & Reject Doomism: Tell Others To Do The Same


* Dr Wray is presumably intending us to read ‘Gen Dread’ as Generation Dread, (cf Generation X, Y etc). For Boomers like myself and others of previous generations, I hope she will not mind my including ourselves in this way as we of course share the dread. In fact, since the situation is unlikely to improve in our lifetimes, our situation is possibly worse – our hope lies in working for a future we shall not see.

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