Important California: The Psychological Tribute of Local weather Change – Los Angeles Instances


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In a sunny Australian city known as one of the largest coal export ports in the world, an environmental philosopher made frequent calls to residents.

As they spoke, their distress was felt at the magnitude of the impact of open pit mines and other heavy industries in the area.

The philosopher sat at the dining table with his wife and tried to characterize the peculiarities of their pain – a pain that "is experienced when it is recognized that the place where you live and love is immediately attacked".

Glenn Albrecht, the philosopher in question, and his wife Jill first thought of the concept of nostalgia – for, as Albrecht writes, the term was once associated with “a diagnosable disease associated with the melancholy of homesickness for people far away your home."

But the desperate residents of Australia's Hunter Valley were not exiled emigrants longing for a home. On the contrary, they had stayed where they were, even when the landscape that had once brought them consolation was no longer recognizable.

Finally, Albrecht coined the term "Solastalgie" – a neologism that combines the words nostalgia, comfort and desolation – to describe her deep feeling of loss and isolation and the overwhelming feelings of powerlessness that went with it.

Solastalgia, as Albrecht defined it in an essay from 2004, manifests itself “in an attack on the sense of place, in the erosion of the sense of belonging (identity) to a certain place and in a feeling of distress (psychological desolation) about its transformation. "In short, it's" a form of homesickness that makes you feel at home when you are home. "

This word has been used more and more in recent years, especially in the context of climate change.

Perhaps it describes some of the destabilizing worries you experienced as the ashes rained and fires burned in all directions. We Californians have long defined ourselves against an unforgiving landscape of great beauty and destruction. But it's never been like this.

(See also: "The climate crisis is happening. Just look at the California weekend" by ProPublica.)

On Thursday, the massive fire of the August Complex in and around Tehama County officially became the largest fire in California history – meaning the first, third, and fourth largest fires in California history are all currently burning. It's hard not to wonder what our state will be like when and when the flames subside. Or whether we will ever feel completely safe here again.

"We have relationships with places," explains Dr. Susan Clayton, professor of psychology and environmental studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio. "They are very important to our history and our sense of who we are."

Clayton studies the psychological effects of climate change. It's a relatively new focus in the field of psychology that makes it difficult to definitively talk about the longer-term effects. However, researchers believe that climate change will have both chronic and acute effects on mental health.

According to a 2017 American Psychological Assn. In the Clayton co-authored report, the acute effects are likely to include more trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the extreme weather caused by climate change and other major destabilizing events. Chronic effects can manifest as an increased feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, or fatalism when people anticipate profound changes in their surroundings or when they see a lack of control over what is happening.

Clayton said some of the more incremental effects of climate change could affect our mental wellbeing.

"There is very good evidence that, for example, hot weather is actually bad for our mental health," she said. "You're seeing an increase in suicide rates, an increase in aggression and an increase in psychiatric hospital admissions."

The looming existential threat from climate change can also create a background of concern. As Clayton explains, having a level of fear can be a motivating force in stimulating action and change – but too much can be debilitating and crippling.

So what's the middle ground between sticking our heads in the sand and being overwhelmed by what we know? Suppose you are fortunate enough to be out of the path of acute danger, at least for today. How can we live meaningfully with these threats when we know that so much is out of our control?

"For all of us, we have to find this way of thinking – I can do something," said Clayton. You may not be able to save the world, but you can have a little sense of control over your corner even if you just prepare your own evacuation plans. She also mentioned that she was pushing or voting on certain topics local officials to bring up the matter.

My colleague Sammy Roth, an energy reporter at The Times, wrote about his own reckoning with climate desperation in a recent issue of his Boiling Point newsletter, quoting a line from the rabbinical teachings of Pirkei Avot that I have pondered a lot over the past few weeks : "It is not your responsibility to stop working to make the world perfect, but neither can you refrain from doing so."

And now this is happening across California:

The death toll rose to 10 from a massive fire that swept through mountainous communities in Counties Butte, Plumas and Yuba, and 16 people were missing Thursday night, firefighters said. The north complex fire increased in size this week, scorching more than 252,000 acres and forcing around 20,000 people in Plumas, Butte and Yuba counties from their homes. Los Angeles times

Los Angeles suffered the worst smog in nearly 30 years. Lung-damaging ozone pollution in Los Angeles reached its highest level in generations and set records in other parts of southern California during the Labor Day weekend heat wave, air quality measurements show. Officials said the high readings were the result of intense heat combined with stagnant weather conditions and winds too weak to remove much pollution. Los Angeles times

(See Also, "How to Stay Safe When Smoke and Terrible Air Quality Choke Southern California" in the Los Angeles Times)

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The coronavirus could have reached Los Angeles even before China announced its outbreak. A study of patients who came to UCLA clinics and hospitals for cough treatment suggests the coronavirus may have been in Los Angeles by Christmas. Los Angeles times

Schools in LA County are not allowed to fully reopen until November. The news will be a blow to students, parents and educators in the hopes that advances against the coronavirus could allow campus to reopen faster. Los Angeles times

A classroom at Burbank Middle School in Los Angeles has been prepared to safely accommodate students using social distancing and other measures, but it remains unclear which students could return and when.

(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)


The congressional stalemate over a new coronavirus bailout worsened Thursday when Senate Democrats blocked a slimmed-down Republican proposal they considered "emaciated" for not having another round of $ 1,200 economic reviews for Americans to support Provincial governments and other industries included aid. Los Angeles times

Tens of thousands of low-income California seniors stopped delivering free groceries home just as the state's COVID-19 cases were peaking thanks to a centuries-old federal policy to include excess cheese in state aid packages. Los Angeles times


The California Supreme Court dismissed lawsuits attempting to reopen schools during the pandemic. During a private conference, the state Supreme Court without comment dismissed lawsuits from the Orange County Board of Education and others to reopen schools nationwide. Los Angeles times


The California coronavirus death toll was over 14,000, but new cases continue to decline. Los Angeles times


Butte County officials on Thursday enacted an emergency measure that will allow restaurants to temporarily reopen for indoor dining amid the deadly bear fire. "We react to what we consider to be an emergency situation in our district, not only because of the devastating evacuees, but also because of the air quality." Los Angeles times

In San Francisco, hair and nail salons, gyms, and hotels can open on Mondays with limited capacity. Customers must wear face covering at all times. San Francisco Chronicle

COVID-19 is fueling a new wave of Bay Area transplants in the Sacramento area. "We were ready to get out of the urban environment," said a 34-year-old technician. "I heard Sacramento is on its way." Sacramento Bee

The employees of the household service provider Handy are exposed to sexual harassment and unfair charges. A civil rights group is asking California to consider workers, which under the state labor code would force cell phones to step up protections. New York Times

Something to read that won't leave you desperate: A feel-good story about a group of Fort Bragg seniors on bicycles ("Seniors on Bicycles" is actually the name of their group, SOB for short) who came across one hundred dollar bills Freeway scattered and its rightful owner tracked down. Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A poem for your Friday: "Winter, Spring" by Jim Harrison. The writer's almanac

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Los Angeles: sunny, 84. San Diego: sunny, 82. San Francisco: partly sunny, 67. San Jose: partly sunny, 76. Fresno: sunny, 93. Sacramento: sunny, 89. More weather is here.


Today's California memory is from Diane Schrader:

I grew up in the Central Valley in the 1970s. Blackberries bloomed in the trenches where excess water ran from the farmer's field. I would wade into ankle-deep water with a large stick. I would use it to bend the branches down to reach the berries. I wasn't alone. Giant spiders lived in the vines. They meant no harm, but they snuck me out. I would use my cane to get them out of the way. Well, they didn't like water very much. I fell asleep at night for weeks when these spiders crawled out of the water and crawled up my legs. Definitely worth it. My mother made the best blackberry cobbler in the world.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas, and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.



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