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University of California system rolls out group-therapy climate anxiety course

Having scared the hell out of Gen Z over climate, the UC system seeks to remediate things

All nine campuses of the University of California system are offering a new class on climate change. The class, called “Building Psychosocial and Planetary Resilience,” starts this spring quarter.

The important thing to understand is that it is fundamentally a psychology class, not an environmental science class. The class was designed by a professor of psychiatry and a professor of psychology, according to the Daily Nexus, UC Santa Barbara’s student newspaper.

The course was designed “with the goal of integrating ‘mindfulness practices’ with discussing climate change.”

“The class aims to fill a critical gap in climate education and well-being, building on the science of personal and social resilience and climate change action, building a sense of belonging, and motivating empowerment and self-efficacy via actionable projects,” the course website states.

The class itself is a mix of videos of world leaders talking about climate science and small-group discussions led by a mindfulness teacher.

“Students will watch lectures from world renowned leaders in climate science and action/advocacy, take part in in-person mindfulness sessions led by course faculty leaders and mindfulness-trained instructors, and attend live UC-wide Zoom lectures,” wrote Katie Alegria in the UC San Francisco student news outlet the Synapse.

“While the research on the impacts of climate distress and health is still emerging, there is evidence for several strategies to help cope with climate distress. So far, we know that social support and community resilience are huge resources for coping with climate related distress and anxiety,” she wrote.

UCSB’s Nexus reported: “In-person class sessions will serve to ‘build shared learning skills, process climate-change-related distress in a safe space, and build social support and community collaboration on individual and collective action, culminating in class climate projects.'”

In other words, having scared the hell out of Gen Z over an exaggerated climate change crisis — telling young people that the world is basically ending in the next few decades — the UC system now seeks to remediate things with what amounts to a coping class complete with group therapy sessions.

This is not a brand new trend, there’s a branch of psychology called “climate anxiety” that’s emerged in recent years.

A rough translation of the new course description might say: “We know we’ve told you that the earth is going to implode from all this heat. And we know we’ve told you that eating meat, building homes, having children, doing pretty much everything, is just making things worse for the planet. We see that you’re scared out of your wits. But we were really just trying to scare policy makers into taking certain actions. You have to be a little more chill about your life. Very little of the really scary stuff is going to happen.”

Climate anxiety afflicts most of Gen Z, according to a 2018 Gallup poll, pointing out 70 percent of Americans age 18 to 34 worry about global warming, the polling company reported.

It’s not just the students, either.

In a previous College Fix piece, Professor Beth Osnes, who teaches theater and environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and who sometimes dresses as a butterfly to ease her climate concerns, described the helplessness and despair that constitute climate anxiety. She told a local Colorado news outlet she is “increasingly discouraged about the perilous state of our planet.”

“I started to get that terrible ooze feeling, that comes in like a sickness that you get from despair. It was like swallowing crude oil or something,” Osnes was reported as saying.

Of course, the universities could cut short all this suffering by adding a segment to the curriculum which dissents to climate orthodoxies discussed. For instance, last August, more than 1,600 scientists from across the world signed a statement explaining that there is no global warming crisis, as The College Fix reported at the time.

There is, and always has been, variation in weather, sometimes for long periods of time. But none of it was man made, and the current round of low level warming is not, either. So feeling helpless in face of it is futile, at best.

Unfortunately, the politics of most universities forbid discussion of the other aspects of “the science.” So, it’s probably better for UC students to take this “Psychosocial Resilience” class than to suffer from depression and anxiety, until they shell out big bucks for private therapy.

MORE: CU Boulder professor dresses like butterfly to fight ‘climate anxiety’

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