A huge climate change victory in Montana.
PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS
Perhaps you are familiar with the lyrics of the 1981 song by Debbie Friedman, “And the Youth Shall See Visions”:
“Childhood was for fantasies, for nursing rhymes and toys
The world was much too busy to understand small girls and boys.
As I grew up, I came to reason that life was not a game.
That heroes were just people that we called another name.
And the old shall dream dream dreams and the youth shall see visions
And our hopes shall rise to the sky.
We must live for today; we must build for tomorrow.
Give us time, give us strength, give us life…”
That year, 1981, was in retrospect a year of climate change warning, but missed opportunities. Besides this song, an internal e-mail at ExxonMobil warned of climate change, but the company went on to fund deniers; a TV documentary on December 8th by the UK’s only commercial TV channel of the time, ITV, broadcast “Warming Warning”; and an early climate science activist published a warning.1
It has taken 42 years, but the dreams of us elder climate activists have had some wish fulfillment, as the youth in Montana have scored a legal victory in the case of Held v State of Montana. Due to a provision in the Montana Environmental Act, it can even be called a human rights victory, as the youths’ right to a “clean and healthful environment” has been confirmed with the decision that it has been violated by the use of fossil fuels.
Maybe this legal precedent can also inspire something similar for our mental health, which we know is being compromised by climate instability.
Interested in climate change activism? Stay tuned for our October issue cover. Contact us at PTEditor@MMHGroup.com if you are interested in writing about climate change and psychiatry.
Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. He is an advocate for mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times.
1. Hansen J, Johnson D, Lacis A, et al. Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Science. 1981;213(4511):956-966.