Eco-Anxiety: The Mental Toll of Climate Change

Arial Nieberding | Jun 18, 2019

Dartmouth student Ethan Weinstein witnessed the tolls of climate change in an unexpected way. As the condition of our planet grew more and more troubling, he began to notice changes in the well-being of a friend. He was fixated on the state of our climate, obsessed with his personal impact on the future and ultimately became very depressed.

Ethan Weinstein
Ethan Weinstein

While completing a four month filmmaking internship at Interlock Media, Weinstein found himself bombarded by news articles and political debates on the topic of climate change. The majority of the information was old news, often scary news, but nothing seemed unfamiliar.

Amongst all of this information, Weinstein stumbled across a new term: Eco-anxiety. The term addresses a mental condition, one that seemed akin to what his friend was feeling. Innate curiosity drove Weinstein to further investigate the topic, and he soon discovered how the warming of our planet has immediate mental effects on a large portion of society.

Upon exploring the intricacies of eco-anxiety, Weinstein felt compelled to take on his own project which would bring this issue to the forefront of public discussion. He decided to create a podcast that would delve into the general aspects of eco-anxiety and take professional opinion from leading psychiatrists and specialists in the field.

Robin Washington
Robin Washington

 

Pivotal in Weinstein’s trajectory toward the promotion of his podcast was Robin Washington. Washington is the former interim commentary editor for The Marshall Project and winner of many prestigious journalism awards. He was a long time contributor to and editor of The Bay State Banner. Now a transportation and environmental writer, Washington hosts Wisconsin Public Radio’s regional program “Hear Me Out.” With Washington’s help, Weinstein’s findings on eco-anxiety have premiered for the world to hear.

Visit https://www.wpr.org/programs/hear-me-out to hear the full story.

Special thanks to:
Interviewees
Dr. Robin Cooper, Psychiatrist and climate change activist
Dr. Janet Lewis, Psychiatrist and specialist in eco-anxiety
Madeline Charney, member of Good Grief

Engineering team
Sandy Jones
Original score by Raymond Doan