Declaration and call to action for psychiatrists

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Lise Van Susteren, MD, David Pollack, MD, Janet Lewis, MD

Climate Psychiatry Alliance, Aug. 2018

 

It is our professional duty to speak up!  The overwhelming scientific consensus is that the world is on a catastrophic course towards destruction from the impacts of human caused global warming. As experts on denial and resistance, knowing that people unconsciously bury or, in full awareness, avoid matters of grave concern only to experience worse consequences down the road, we shall not remain silent when the disavowal of reality is leading civilization towards an inexorable existential crisis.

 

Indifference to the long term consequences of catastrophic behaviors and inaction on policy expose the planet to increasing climate disasters with economic, political, social, spiritual, and psychological upheaval in their wake. We leave our children and future generations with indescribably unjust burdens not of their making and out of their control. 

 

The well being and survival of all humanity is on the line.  It is an especially excruciating injustice that those who have benefited from relative comfort and climate stability should remain oblivious to the harms that await those who are just beginning their lives. We have the opportunity and obligation to understand and prevent the current and worsening climate calamity. All the accomplishments and dreams of humanity, the breathtaking beauty and life-giving bounty of the natural world are now held hostage by a few individuals who have the capacity to turn the course of history towards collective survival.  We must listen to those who realize this reality and alert those who seem unaware of the risks to which they are exposed.  We are all in this together.

Based on our ethical duty to warn, we demand that our leaders end their willful denial and disregard of the consequences of inaction on climate. We must fully accept the responsibility and accountability to protect the earth, our progeny, and all living things at this time of unprecedented peril.  Our leaders must take bold and immediate action to correct our course with the greatest sense of urgency because the time for effective action is rapidly running out.