Psychiatric Views on the Daily News - Episode 32

Dune and Our Future of Climate Change

The deserts of Arrakis serve as a warning for our own climate crisis.

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE DAILY NEWS

Instead of the future of psychedelics that we discussed in yesterday’s column, many others would justifiably put our future climate as the most important challenge illustrated by Dune. That desert planet apparently was once a verdant green environment, but over time became an everyday climate death risk, in addition to the dangers of violence intensified by undue heat.

Ironically, 2 of the preventive answers for us may have come from an unusual pairing that connects to Dune and the book’s author, Frank Herbert. One is from one of our earth’s desert areas, Dubai. Of course, this is not the Dubai of massive energy consumption that built this modern city. It is the Dubai of the recently opened World Expo. The Expo has 3 districts: Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity. All convey ways to address climate and our environmental crisis. For one of many, many examples, there is an area of metallic solar “trees” that move with the sun to collect maximum light energy.

The Indigenous Fremen of Dune, though living underground, seem to otherwise have some similarities to our Indigenous Americans, who have long endeavored to live with the earth rather than to try to dominate it. As a child, Herbert was prophetically taught by Native Americans in Western Washington state about our evolving environment risks.

On the surface, the technologically advanced Dubai and the traditionally advanced Indigenous Americans might seem like an odd couple. Yet, they might help lead the way to save our planet Earth, but only if we learn how to combine and use their lessons.

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.