A Live Report on Climate Instability in Milwaukee


High winds and high anxiety—one doctor’s concerns about climate change feel justified.


Sergey Nivens/AdobeStock


As I write this from my i-Pad, 100% charged from last night, it is about 6 AM in Fox Point, a suburb outside of Milwaukee. It is pitch black in our house, other than a flashlight, and pitch black in the neighborhood, other than some outdoor Christmas lights. Electricity is out, but no other information available.

Though we cannot see much, we can hear a lot. The wind is still howling as it was last night when our power went out and we tried to sleep, fitfully. Not tornado strength and shape, but what I might call a windstorm.

Last Monday, I had written about the terrible tornadoes in the mid-South, but now have no idea if there is any significant property or personal damage around here. I had called for new innovative climate action from psychiatrists—now that feels even more real and necessary. For the first time, I am reporting live from a Psychiatry & Society ongoing event. I had another column ready to go on the Noble Peace Prize winners, both journalists, but this shabby example of being a live journalist takes precedent for now.

Soon, daylight will emerge, along with more information. It will be winter cold today. My wife and I are anxious, in part because I should not leave home because I have to pass a COVID-19 test in a few days in order to get what I hope is a life-saving cardiac pacemaker implant. I had nightmares about that not happening last night.

Milwaukee was supposed to be relatively safe from climate instability. Maybe that is a wish, not a reality. Maybe the instability can strike anywhere, in the weather and in our minds.

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 relate to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism for a better world. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric TimesTM.

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