Welcome to the 'Climate' Nut House

Lisa Schiffren20 Jul, 2023 5 Min Read
I try and I try but I just can't save the planet.

Like everyone, we at The Pipeline have our moods. So when we stumbled across the recent “Therapy Issue” of New Yorker Magazine we were intrigued enough to see what they had to say about things. After all, given the unhappy realities of America’s elite, liberal culture, and the depression, anxiety, and isolation that has been so widely reported since the Covid lockdowns, maybe they knew something we don’t.

And, indeed, in one particular article we learned that there is a whole new category of mental illness stalking young people in particular, leading to despair, loneliness, and a sense of impending mortality. Its title: “What To Do With Climate Emotions?: "If the goal is to insure [sic] that the planet remains habitable, what is the right degree of panic, and how do you bear it?” It turns out, according to author Jia Tolentino, that the highly ideological "climate change" narrative has taken a serious toll on them, plunging them into a deep depression over the putative impending death of our planet. 

Tolentino begins the piece with a smug little dig at conservatives. A young man named Tim Wehage grew up in South Florida. The family television was usually on Fox News. But in college he studied as a mechanical engineer and began learning climate science. The suggestion is, of course, if you're to the right of center, you're not smart enough to "follow the science." Of course the opposite is the truth -- constantly assaulted by Leftist narratives, we on the Right have generally had to seek out the truth ourselves to avoid falling into their traps.

There, there, I know we've only got a few years left, but it's our own damn fault.

Eventually Tim moved to Seattle for a job. He didn’t have a car. He walked a lot. He became a vegan. (One begins feeling sorry for his parents, who tried…) He visited a bunch of Second and Third World cities with bad air and learned that “orangutans were going extinct in Indonesia." He was horrified to learn that their habitat, among palm oil trees, had been cut down for food. When he got home, he spent too much time alone in his undecorated apartment, "dazed by grief." He took garbage bags with him to clean up the streets when he went for walks. He doom-scrolled the internet for climate stories and felt powerless.

Tim decided he needed help. He found the Climate Psychiatry Alliance, part of the growing field of therapy for people dealing with the emotional effects of the climate crisis. It connects patients with "climate aware" psychiatrists. But none of the therapists he contacted had room. Which is to say, these climate shrinks were too busy with others whose emotions were similarly wracked by the state of the planet. In Seattle, who would doubt it? Finally, Tim found someone. When he told her what his problem was, she assured him that “she talked about the climate crisis with most of her clients.” Tim cried tears of joy to know he was not alone.

To make a long story short, the therapist told Tim to stop scrolling Reddit for climate stories and to get off social media. He decorated his apartment. He started doing fun things in nature. He got over thinking it was all up to him to fix the planet and acknowledged that there were policies in place to deal with these issues. But Tolentino is not happy with Tim. She notes:

It may be impossible to seriously consider the reality of climate change for longer than ninety seconds without feeling depressed, angry, guilty, grief-stricken, or simply insane. The earth has warmed about 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times, and the damage is irreparable. Vast zones of hypoxic water expand in the oceans; wild bees, fireflies, and birds are disappearing; one study suggests that around half of trees currently alive will be dead in forty years.

"Should we change the subject before we get too despondent?” she asks. She doesn't think so. She describes her own "frenetic wheel spinning” and late-night hysteria about climate doom and her role as a consumer of things for her baby. “Every day, I felt like a self-serving piece of shit.”

Tolentino doesn't want therapy for her own climate emotions because she doesn’t want her panic dispelled. She is sure that the world is on fire. She cites one "climate aware" therapist named Leslie Davenport, who “pushes her clients to aim for a middle ground of sustainable distress.” Davenport wants people to be rational and yet work to solve the problem. Contain your distress, but be accountable. That’s as close to rational as the article comes.

Listen, son: shrinks are God's way of telling us we have too much money.

The author does not think even this is enough. She wants to cling to her misery and hopelessness. She's skeptical that the "problem" even can be fixed, an idea echoed by two radical activist sisters in Manila she speaks to, who sneer at the Western idea that there is still time to avert the "climate crisis." Tolentino ends up favoring radical activism, because "tomorrow will not be like today." 

There is an answer to this misery that the New Yorker and its hysterical writer do not consider. That would be: Tell people the truth. Yes, some animal habitats are being destroyed in the Third World. But no, the climate is not spiraling into death-inducing heat and flooding. The climate is changing, yes, as it always does. Perhaps some of that has to do with human activity -- smart people disagree. But whatever the case may be, there are reasonable things we can do. For instance, increasing our reliance on nuclear power, which is safe and sustainable, and has a fine track record in Western Europe. Meanwhile, transitioning from coal to natural gas has had a dramatic impact on America's carbon emissions over the past quarter century.

Moreover: stop repeating overwrought tales of doom to an impressionable young people. Do not let your contributors write things like, “The ice sheets keep melting, the permafrost keeps releasing its methane, and the future continues to harden into a psychic zone of suffering and dread. By mid-century, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced because of global warming." No wonder "a 2021 survey of Gen Z-ers [found that] fifty-six percent agreed that 'humanity is doomed'.” That's what they've been taught since early childhood! The blame for their depression falls squarely on their teachers and the media for propagating this deception. It's deeply irresponsible.

Think of it as a cry for help.

Refutations of this narrative are easily found, if you know where to look. Not, however, in the pages of the New Yorker. Read Drs. Richard Lindzen and Judith Curry. Read Alex Epstein or Bjorn Lomborg. Read other serious energy experts at (mostly conservative) think tanks and organizations. And don't stop reading The Pipeline, where we don't charge you a fortune to increase your fears and worries.

That will expose the real rationale for all of this: the desire by some to control resources for all. Those invested in the “green economy” of wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles want to justify banning their competitors for long-term profits. Rational answers also expose their cynicism. And they have the added advantage of being true.

Lisa Schiffren has been an editorial writer, political reporter, war correspondent, (Afghanistan during the Soviet war, before there were roads), and GOP speechwriter. She wrote speeches for Vice President Dan Quayle, and worked in Counterterrorism/Special Operations policy at the Department of Defense. She writes these days from her native New York City.


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3 comments on “Welcome to the 'Climate' Nut House”

  1. "...one study suggests that around half of trees currently alive will be dead in forty years."
    Yup. I have a Texas Ash in my front yard that's has about a 30 inch caliper an dis almost 60 feet tall. I looked up the life expectancy for this beautiful tree, which I've enjoyed since I built my house in 2001, and according to what I discovered, it should already be dead. Some trees live for centuries, many more don't. But the radical climate doomsayers won't mention that half the trees that die in forty years will have been replaced by their successful seeding. There is a second Ash in my front yard that that had a 2 inch caliper and was fifteen feet tall that has tripled those dimensions. Should we happen to have more CO2 available there will be more trees and other vegetation that will thrive and create more oxygen through photosynthesis. Nature knows a hell of a lot more about itself than we do.

  2. Also see Robert Bryce’s Substack or Power Hungry podcast where you will learn that solar and wind are destabilizing the grid, cannot power an advanced economy and regardless we can’t mine enough minerals to make those batteries anyway.L

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