Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hurricane Irene and climate change got you down? You're not alone.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 at 11:19 AM

Hurricane Irene kisses the coast with teeth
  • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • Hurricane Irene kisses the coast with teeth

You're not the only one getting misty eyed over climate change. The Agence France-Presse is reporting that climate change is depressing:

The new 30-page study focuses on Australia, hit in recent years by a devastating drought — known as "The Big Dry" — along with severe fires and floods.

Together, these events claimed many lives and caused billions of dollars in damage.

Up to now, however, few efforts have been made to assess the psychological impact of climate change-enhanced weather events, which in Australia have destroyed communities, farms and businesses.

In poorer countries with less capacity to absorb such shocks, the consequences on mental health are likely to be even greater, the report warned.

"The emerging burden of climate-related impacts on community morale and mental health — bereavement, depression, post-event stress disorders, and the tragedy of self-harm — is large," noted Tony McMichael, a professor at Australian National University, in introducing the study.

Of course, it doesn't help that every storm comes with questions about whether or not climate change is the cause. Take Hurricane Irene, for example: She'd barely destroyed her first inch of infrastructure before the interwebs were asking, "Was Hurricane Irene Caused By Climate Change?"

Who can say definitively? No one. But what is definitely depressing is the stark reality many of our neighbors on the coast continue to face in Irene's aftermath.

In better news: Mooresville-based Lowe’s Announced $1 Million Pledge to Hurricane Irene Disaster Relief. That, of course, won't cover the whole bill, but it is a glimmer of proof that all is not lost, and that even with climate change and its storms raging over our heads, basic human kindness still prevails.

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