Fear, like any emotion, has its uses. It tells us when something is a danger to us so that we avoid it and hopefully save ourselves. It’s our internal warning system, and it is likely one of the very oldest functions of the animal brain. But like anything, it can be overused and overstimulated to the point where it becomes maladaptive–no longer the best way to respond to a situation.
A few days ago saw the publication of a scare piece from New York Magazine about all the horrible ways we’re going to die due to climate change. Now, I am fully on board with the fact that climate change is happening, and that it’s caused by us. And yes, I have my pessimistic moments where I look at how many forces are perpetuating the causes of climate change out of greed and ignorance. It can be tempting, in the light of this worst-of-the-worst case scenario, to just roll over and give up.
That’s why I appreciated this retort from Grist (complete with links to fact-checking) that, while it acknowledges that climate change’s worst outlook is pretty bad, shows that the NYMag piece is way over the top.