Global Warming and the Mad Movement: Can You Help?


On Sunday, September 21, 2014, here in Eugene Oregon, I participated, with my wonderful wife Debra, in a local rally to support the major march in New York City for climate justice.

Everyone and every group working for mental health justice ought to make fighting global warming a priority right now. Of course, the whole disability movement, and in fact all sentient beings should be concerned about climate crisis, but those of us working for human rights and more choices for mental wellness have special reasons to make this planetary catastrophe a unifying theme for all of us.

Martin Luther King frequently talked about the importance of creative maladjustment as an answer to oppression, and many environmentalists are wondering where humanity’s creativity and maladjustment are right about now. The Mad Movement knows that the psychiatric industry has ground down the human spirit for centuries, but we never ever give up! MLK resisted the war in Vietnam toward the end of his life, and some civil rights activists were mystified that he seemed to be off topic. However, MLK knew that we are all in one big movement for the “beloved community,” as he put it.

But if you need something very specific to connect the Mad Movement to global warming, here it is: Those of us called psychotic are often coerced to take neuroleptic drugs (sometimes called antipsychotics), and these drugs are well known to suppress the temperature-regulatory part of the brain. During a heat wave, prison reformers have been talking about how horrible it is that those in non-air-conditioned prisons where people are forced to take these drugs often die. Well, most USA states have laws allowing citizens to be forcibly court-ordered to take these drugs while living at home out in the community.

In fact, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) has a bill to expand this outpatient forced drugging to many other Americans, ask him how many. People who are forcibly drugged tend to be poor and often do not have air conditioning, so coerced psychiatric pharmaceuticals can be a death sentence. The media have tended to avoid this topic, maybe because they are afraid that we will quit our drugs, as I did back in 1977.

I have always felt that we are in one big movement for a peaceful revolution, including about the environment.

Here is something I have been taking action against for a few years: one of the worst defenders of climate crisis is the huge US Chamber of Commerce based in Washington, DC. The US Chamber was taken over a number of years ago by a few big corporations that promote the current economic system.

Here in Eugene, Oregon, and in almost every medium and large city in the USA, there is a local Chamber of Commerce. It may surprise you to hear that your local chamber tends to be fairly independent from the big US Chamber. There is a campaign to have some of the locally-based chambers speak out that the US Chamber of Commerce is all wrong about global warming.

For years, the leading climate crisis group, 350, has had a campaign to ask each chamber of commerce to say “The US Chamber does not speak for us!” This campaign has only been able to convince 56 of the chambers to speak out. But we psychiatric survivors tend to not give up. I have helped mobilize several actions requesting that the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce make a statement of concern about human-caused global warming. I have organized several public events, street theater, protests, and lots of communication by email and even letters to the editor.

Unfortunately, the Eugene Area Chamber has refused to speak up about this disaster that may become one of the worst catastrophes in the history of planet Earth. Scientists know for certain that global warming is horrible. And there is a risk of run-away climate crisis that threatens life on Earth. I call this danger Normalgeddon. Here is where we stand:
Our local chamber has decided that the executive committee for their elected board of directors should be in charge of any statements about global warming. The elected leader of this board is attorney Sheryl Balthrop. For the past nine months, Ms. Balthrop has refused to make any statement about the climate, and refused to say if or when she will make such a statement. Ms. Balthrop is also the volunteer lawyer for the large human services agency ShelterCare, which is relevant, because poor people are especially vulnerable during environmental disasters. ShelterCare is one of our largest local mental health agencies. Adding to the role of ShelterCare, their director Susan Ban serves on the chamber’s board, and ShelterCare’s Consumer Council unanimously asked that Ms. Balthrop meet and speak up about this issue. Ms. Balthrop flatly refused.

Here is the Award we gave to the Eugene Chamber with our tongues in our cheeks.

You may watch three videos about activities we have done that are fun and peaceful, to encourage the Eugene area chamber to do the right thing:

  1. Youtube: Boycott Normal Eugene Area Chamber
  2. Vimeo: How I Stopped Worrying Eugene Chamber
  3. Vimeo: Our Golden Ostrich

We are the 100%!

According to polls, Americans who believe in small government often are skeptical of global warming. Lately, I am realizing that this position is extremely idealistic, even more idealistic than me! If there was no more crime, we would not need police or jails. If we all shared everything, we would not need money. But to accomplish something like a D-Day for Earth, we need government. Without government a D-Day would look like a bunch of individuals in canoes.

The real choice is between elected government or non-elected government. Corporations hurting the planet are the most authoritarian non-elected government, ever! And you know who is real good at skepticism? Scientists. If someone could come up with a good experiment to disprove global warming, please do so.

What I have learned in my four decades of activism in the Mad Movement is this: We are the one 100%, that is, every single person, 24 hours per day, from womb to tomb, has a major mental disability. But that idea is not a dead end, and our social change movement is here to say there is hope despite extreme problems in the mind. Global warming is slowly awakening humanity into the common humble realization that we all, 100%, are in the Mad Movement, and we need each other to survive.

After my fall that broke my neck 19 months ago, many people who knew me are still unaware of how much I am disabled. Because of a pre-existing condition, my surgery was delayed and during that time my voice was disabled and my fingers became inoperative. So I am kind of like a stripped down version of human, but I am still human, and my human spirit says we all must act now. Hey, if I as PsychoQuad can do this, then can’t other people?

We here in Eugene can use the support of people everywhere to help our campaign. Yes, if you are local there is more for you to do. But where ever you live, your help is appreciated. Show there is global attention to our local efforts!

An easy action you can take:

Please contact the board secretary and staff for ShelterCare via these two e-mail addresses:

[email protected]

[email protected]

Sample message (your own peaceful words are best):

Please speak out about global warming! Marginalized people are especially vulnerable to climate crises. ShelterCare is very much connected to the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce because ShelterCare’s director, Susan Ban, is on the board, and its lawyer, Sheryl Balthrop, is the chamber’s elected leader. Find out about the campaign here:

More actions that you can take to help this campaign:

* Please link to this blog, and like/share this blog on social media.

* Please try to communicate with the elected leader of the Eugene Area Chamber, Sheryl Balthrop. You may find her law office by searching for: Gaydos, Churnside, and Balthrop.

* You may read several blog entries I have done related to the climate crisis, here:

* You may download and print out a brief version of this blog here: David-Oaks-Eugene-Area-Chamber

* Here is another photo of Eugenians speaking up about global warming, maybe you can spot PsychoQuad. By clicking on the photo, you can enlarge it.

Eugene protest global warming. Photo by Ted Taylor, Eugene Weekly.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. David: back here in WVa. king coal has a stranglehold on state and local politics. Our citizens, especially in the southern coal fields are especially vulnerable to the whims of the energy markets. Layoffs from coal mines devastate local communities-southeastern Ky. Is especially hard hit. There are a number of factors at play. We are now mining the hard to get at coal and are increasingly unable to compete against cheaper coal from WY and Montana. Republicans seek to place the blame squarely at the feet of Obama and EPA regulations, despite the story being more complicated than that. WVa. establishment Democrats distance themselves from Obama as they try to compete with Republicans to be a champion of King Coal. Also like PA, we are experiencing the scourge of fracking across the state. I am a member of the Mountain Party, an affiliate of the USA Green Party, and I also frequent the activities of local environmental groups such as the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition. We need a national and international response to the consumer culture that is driving the high rates of mineral extraction and energy expenditure: a response that doesn’t suddenly leave whole communities in a lurch which happens throughout the Appalachian Coal Fields. Moreover, as the South African writer Patrick Bond recently remarked, we need social activists to see and act outside the narrow confines of their single issue interest groups as you are doing with this post.

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    • If there was any smart coordinated policy people working in the mines could be re-trained and used for building the infrastructure and producing components for renewable energy. But that needs government with a vision who gives a sh*t. Not the corrupt politicians who couldn’t care less if someone will die or even if the whole planet is going to sh*t.

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  2. Thank you for this and thank you for your work towards climate justice. I just read that the US is second only to China in terms of having the population least educated about climate change ( It’s no surprise given how thoroughly we are propagandized here, but we need to turn this around. The future of our species and that of countless others depends on it.

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  3. David,

    The science is split on this issue.

    I consider myself a conservationist, not an environmentalist. I think energy policy needs to be reviewed and some steps taken, but I’m for taking a pragmatic look at all of this.

    A large part of the energy grid is reliant on coal. If you make changes too quickly, it becomes unaffordable for people to heat their homes this winter. Some, especially elderly people have their health (and lives) threatened.

    In short, I’m out.


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      • Senate report indicates 1,000 international scientists dissent:

        And here we go again.
        What does this have to do with psychiatry, mental health system transformation, etc?

        I really wish these topics would be discussed in the forum section. David’s topic was global warming, but oftentimes, the topic of the blog author gets hijacked…. and the *political* discussion that follows has nothing to do with the original subject. (Again, not the case this time).


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        • Duane, I know we not better than probably any group out there to trust the experts and scientific consensus just based on authority but in the global warming issue it’s the “deniers” that are aligned with people who stand to profit from the status quo. Gas and oil industry is the most profitable on the planet (yes, it beats pharma) and they are anything but interested in doing anything against the “externalities” of their trade. They are more than capable to pay off 1000+ “scientists”.

          Plus you have to consider the results of making a type I vs type II error. If you go with the 95+ of climate scientists and assume climate change is real and man-made and it turns out not to be true the worst you did is build a modern infrastructure which provides renewable and relatively ecologically friendly energy which can be generated locally (no need to invade Middle East anymore), even by individuals in their own home (solar panels and small wind turbines) and minimizes the harmful chemicals released to earth, air and ground water. Even if global warming turned out to be a huge hoax we are still better off as a species. On the otehr hand if you assume it’s not true and do nothing and it turns out to be real (which it increasingly is obvious – even American Navy is concerned about it as threat to national security and they are hardly a leftist or liberal organization) – we are facing human extinction and possibly destruction of life on our lovely planet.

          Btw, I don’t need the scientists to tell me that climate change is happening – I can see it all around me. I see how weather patterns change from year to year – it snows when it shouldn’t, seasons get shifted around, it’s to hot in winter, to dry in summer, birds don’t come when they should, plants get crazy and start flowering in the middle of January and it’s not just one odd year – it’s progressive. Southeastern Brazil has a 2yr long drought (so did Syria – it’s one of the reasons for the unrest there). Philippines are getting devastated by hurricanes of a magnitude they have never seen. There are horrible droughts even in US where people go bankrupt because they can’t feed their cattle anymore. It is happening in front of our eyes.

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  4. Let me share a secret with you guys,

    In science “consensus” is irrelevant, so the opinion of 97% of so called “climate scientists” is irrelevant to the following proposition: can climate science, under its current form, make accurate predictions 10, 20 or 100 years down the road about the impact CO2 emissions have in world temperatures? The answer is no, regardless of what those 97% of so called “climate scientists” think.

    The reason I don’t care about what those 97% of climate scientists say about their predictions is the same I don’t care about what the APA says “mental illness” is. On both cases we have self appointed experts making up stuff that is not falsifiable or, if it is -as in the case of alarmist global warming- the result of the empirical experiments is very clear: the global warming doomsday scenario didn’t happen.

    I have to say that I see a bit ironic for people to criticize the APA and psychiatry for being unscientific to then go to embrace an equally unscientific endeavor: catastrophic global warming.

    I would say that if the psychiatric survivors movement aspires to have credibility, it should stay away from embracing unscientific endeavors like alarmist global warming. That doesn’t mean that individual members cannot have opinions on the issue but as “movement” we should stay agnostic on the matter. Otherwise, I can already see the movement being portrayed as yet another fringe movement of progressives.

    To put it in terms that most here will understand, for the psychiatric movement to embrace alarmist global warming as one of its talking points it would be as foolish as embracing Scientology. It is one thing to say I am anti psychiatry and progressive/Scientologist, quite another to say, I am a progressive/Scientologist, therefore I am anti psychiatry. The former is fine, the latter is a sure ticket to our irrelevance as a movement.

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    • the global warming doomsday scenario didn’t happen

      I wasn’t aware there was a time limit.

      I can already see the movement being portrayed as yet another fringe movement of progressives

      I think that internationally you would find it to be the other way around — the global warming deniers would be considered the fringe.

      While I don’t this should be a dividing line in terms of reaching some class (or sub-class) unity among psychiatric survivors, I don’t see a valid analogy between climate science, which is a science even if there are majority and minority viewpints, and psychiatry, which is pseudo-medicine based on pseudo-science.

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      • “I wasn’t aware there was a time limit.”

        There was. The Economist, which endorsed at the time global warming alarmism enthusiastically, backtracked last year precisely because the models produced in the late 1990s failed to account for the actual change of temperatures they predicted for the year 2010 .

        “I think that internationally you would find it to be the other way around — the global warming deniers would be considered the fringe.”

        Progressives consider so called “global warming deniers” fringe, not society at large.

        I have to make several points about this,

        – Jonathan Haidt has extensively studied the subject of subconscious political bias extensively (you can google about it). His conclusion is that conservatives are more aware, on average, of the liberal -or progressive if you will- point of view than the other way around. There is no clear reason as to why this is the case, although the most accepted explanation seems to be that given that the overwhelming majority of media, universities and entertainment industries lean left, conservatives are more exposed to “the other point of view” than liberals. The latter tend to assume that news as editorialized by say CNN, the big three broadcast networks or NPR/PBS are unbiased when the fact is that they have a very clear liberal bias as determined by academics who have studied these news sources.

        – Several surveys show that global warming is not a concern of a majority of Americans today.

        – Catastrophic global warming is as junk science as psychiatry. The only difference between the two is that at least catastrophic global warming makes quantifiable falsifiable predictions about the range of expected temperatures (unlike psychiatry). So far these predictions have been consistently falsified.

        – If you want to learn about “the other view”, I recommend this talk by MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen, . Richard Lindzen is a climate scientist and perhaps the most articulate critic there is of alarmist global warming.

        This is not to say that climate science should be abolished. On the contrary, I think that investing in climate science is good. What I question is the “alarmist” conclusions that have been consistently falsified because, just as the brain is an uber complex organ that cannot be simplistically studied with chemical imbalances or neural circuits, reducing the complexity of climate science to a few mathematical models that result from fitting relatively simplistic equations to past data does not result in predictive science.

        As a movement, we are better off if catastrophic global warming is not a litmus test for those who want to join the anti psychiatry front, as Duane explains above. If buying into the global warming scam is a requisite for being an anti psychiatrist in good standing, we are going to lose a lot of committed people, like yours truly.

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      • BTW,

        This is an article about the research by Jonathan Haidt,

        “In short, Haidt’s research suggests that many liberals really do believe that conservatives are heartless bastards–or as a friend of mine once remarked, “Conservatives think that liberals are good people with bad ideas, whereas liberals think conservatives are bad people”–and very liberal people think that especially strongly. Haidt suggests that there is some truth to this.”

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      • Another data point that most progressives are unaware of. The IPCC was a direct result of intense lobbying by Margaret Thatcher in the late 1980s,

        Conservative folklore has it that she was motivated by promoting sources of energy alternative to coal, particularly nuclear energy, because she was fed up with miners’ strikes, thus she saw global warming as a way to promote nuclear energy. I do not know what were her true motives but I think it is accurate to say that little did she know about the monster she unleashed.

        Once you create an organization, any organization, that depends on public money for its existence, such as global warming research, you can be sure that those benefiting from the funding will do anything within their power to make sure the the flow of public money continues.

        I know, I know, many big oil companies fund global warming skeptics for their own egotistical reasons. Again, this is one instance of those of my point of view being very aware of the political nature of the global warming debate, unlike those who defend the global warming scare who seem to think that the beneficiaries of grant research money are pure souls who would never distort their findings even if those founds threatened their livelihood :).

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    • How about they’ve predicted the rise in adverse weather events worldwide including extreme droughts and massive hurricanes? They have predicted it a decade ago and it’s now measurable (look up statistics).

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  5. David, I didn’t know that the temperature regulatory part of the brain was suppressed by the neuroleptics but I remember now during my first forced “hospitalization of 2 months of 800 mg. a day of Thorazine chemical lobotomy “treatment” when I was 16 years old they were” kind” enough to warn me as I scuffled out to a small fenced in area where I could see the sky without glass and no open windows in between me and outside , “Don’t get in the sun” I saw my skin turn red quick. This poison they give people years later I found out and its written in the small print paper pharma gives you with your “prescription ” ( “really a one way ticket to palookaville”) (a quote that fits from Brando’s in the movie “On The Waterfront”) it also suppresses the thirst reflex so you can be dry and still feel no thirst so you don’t even drink enough water to cool off. A perfect eugenic storm . After 2 months I lied and told them “Yes I Love Big Brother” so to speak in order to get out of there .

    When I look out at the scene I’m reminded of my maddest moments during one of my many confinements at Reed Zone Center in Illinois my therapist ,social worker , adviser I forget now his exact title, with my best interest ‘s foremost in his mind and heart He advised me that my Idea to enlist in the military to fight in Vietnam to prove I was as good as anyone else was a good one and that it would do me good . I went forward during my physical concealed my history and was ecstatic when I passed the physical and they told me I was going to Viet Nam. I didn’t know why an envelope arrived and said they had changed my draft rating to 1Y which meant I wasn’t going to war. When I reached 38 years old my Dad himself a holocaust survivor and war veteran decided it was safe to tell me he followed me to the draft board at a safe distance that day years before and while I left proud as a peacock he went into the Captain’s office and presented him with a copy of my 2 inch thick “mental health psychiatric record “. Now a little wiser I thanked him for saving my life.

    Anyways just like in Viet Nam when soldiers had at times to call in an air strike on themselves and hunker down in a bunker like in Oliver Stone’s movie Platoon in order to walk out alive. I believe the the upper echelon of the 1% certainly here in the USA looking at how they are arranging so many things in so many categories are encouraging creating and manipulatively looking to encourage multiple disasters from so many directions while creating multiple shelter options , food reserves , etc. for themselves while they drastically lower the world population . They believe they have the resources to survive and thrive to live to control a world with a reduced population that rebuilds society according to their totalitarian daydreams.
    They believe we can’t stop them considering the technologies they command and the resources they control. Their madness is
    is beyond an advanced level of megalomania. They believe they can cash in on global warming and other man made disasters and survive them so they have no incentive to offer any real humanitarian aid that doesn’t lower the population.
    They also create pseudo science in most every area and control the major media and can buy off , off , or fool almost anyone. I hope I’m wrong .
    G-d bless you David Oaks I’m trying to do the best I can . You are much more then an inspiration . Checkout
    Best Wishes, Fred

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  6. According to polls, Americans who believe in small government often are skeptical of global warming…

    Liberals don’t own the green revolution.

    What about all the fossil fuel consumed by big government sitting in their air conditioned offices consuming endless quantities of office supplies like PAPER made from TREES !

    What about all the coal burned to light all those big govt offices and power the millions of computers monitors faxes copy-machines ?

    What about all the mail trucks delivering all that big paper work ?

    The U.S. federal government is the single largest energy consumer in a nation that consumes more energy than any other in the world. Then we can add states and counties and towns and villages and their millions and millions of paper eating gadgets all plugged in sucking up megawatt after endless megawatt.

    Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years, with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture… !!!!

    Then we have all the fuel used to transport those big govt office workers to and from… and the diesel to haul the logs to the paper factory and the paper to the offices…

    Big Govt is the worst thing ever for the environment.

    Court Rules Off-The-Grid Living Is Illegal !

    The state of Florida attempted to prosecute Robin Speronis, who was living completely independently of Florida’s water and electric system by employing solar energy, a camping stove, and rain water. Eventually, though the state couldn’t convict her for not having “proper” connection to a sewer or electrical system; she was found guilty of not being connected to an approved water supply.


    Way to go big powerful govt ! Guilty of not being connected to an approved water supply.

    Guilty ! Guilty ! Guilty ! that woman is.

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    • Some states introduced legislation to penalize people who produce more electricity from renewable sources than they consume. Instead of being able to sell it and increase the amount of green energy while making a little more they are made to pay fines.

      I think it’s not a problem of the “big government” it’s a problem of government being in bed with corporations (also known as fascism).

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  7. And what about all the office supplies used to find this woman “guilty” ? And the dry cleaning chemicals for those court people dressed up in their fancy suits and the fuel to get those people to “work” ? And the fuel used for those “how you live in ‘your’ house is our business” people driving around ?

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  8. Anyway David, I still remember when you called the “hospital” I was stuck in and talked so ‘nicely’ to them , that was so awesome. Put him on the phone ! Then that arrogant doctors stupid wife shows up with those release of information papers and two days later the month long nightmare is over.

    Thanks again for that.

    P.S Soon after I pranked that hospital over and over asking for a chemical imbalance test and then when they answer no its ‘ what do you mean no test ! No one EVER gets a chemical test ?? How the F could you possibly know about anyone’s chemicals without a chemical test !!! What kind of place are you running ?! That’s nice, and are you still threatening the patients with needles if they refuse your shitty pills ??!!!

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  9. “Everyone and every group working for mental health justice ought to make fighting global warming a priority right now.”

    I am feeling let down by this call to action for solidarity with other groups that have a tenuous connection with the daily struggle families and individuals are undergoing. Please no. I’ve got my hands full just working to help one person and by extension, parts (but not all) of the mental health justice movement. I don’t need to be distracted by calls for hopping on other people’s social bandwagons. I think linking global warming to mental health justice is just too far a stretch.

    Stick to the knitting.

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    • Yeah, it’s not as though we’ve made such huge strides with replacing the mental health system that we have time to spend tackling all kinds of other issues.

      I wonder if the goal of some is to cheer on the fall of capitalism, with the downfall of psychiatry as a secondary gain; and no idea with how to replace either…

      Not a well-thought out plan. And something IMO that needs to be discussed in the POLITICAL FORUM section of this site… so some of us can talk about replacing psychiatry.


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          • The term ‘litmus test’ was an expression of frustration. The introduction of the topic of Warsaw actually came up from another reader in Laura Kerr’s most recent blog post. Other blog posts have taken similar twists and turns, until we end up getting in heated discussions (mostly politics) that have very little or *nothing* to do with the original post.

            Former MIA site moderator, Matthew Cohen was constantly reaching out to remind people of the Forum section. I don’t think he was trying to dictate what people should say, but rather *where* they should say it. My point is that we have forums to discuss various issues in much greater detail, including political, that do not hijack the blog author’s post.


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          • And maybe you need to spend some time examining why you assume they are all closely connected.

            Hell, we’re sending each other links about the science behind global warming, for crying out loud. IMI, this has not a freakin’ thing to do with psychiatry, mental wellness, etc!

            Disagree. Fine. Do whatever you want.
            I could give a rat’s rear end.


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          • Why are they connected: well, the author links one connection but I’d like to point out another. We all know that socioeconomics and things like poverty or trauma are linked to human emotional and mental well-being and results of such adverse circumstances get pathologized. Global warming is said to produce a high number of natural disasters which produce a lot of human suffering therefore increasing the number of people who get pathologized. So it is relevant just as much a discussion about current political system is relevant.

            Nobody is sending you to any ghetto. You’re allowed to comment here and discuss, even if you think global warming is a hoax. You’re also free not to read articles which mention this topic if it feels irrelevant to you. But many people here have a different opinion.

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    • Actually, global warming is an issue for everybody. Quite literally. All inclusive. Nutcase friendly. Mad folk welcome. “Mental health” justice is merely a matter of destroying the mental illness industry, and not quite of the same order. Yes, we should do something about global warming. Yes, we should do something for mental health, too. Destroying the mental illness industry is that something. More people are touched by global warming than are touched by the mental illness industry. When that statement dramatically changes we really will have a problem on our hands. Coming from the southeastern United States, I do a lot of wondering about sun baked brains.

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  10. Re: some of the things that have been said by the global warming skeptics here:

    Here is one explanation for why climate models have been portrayed as being innacurate:

    So we can have a link war, if that’s what people want, but I think it’s also important to talk about the assumptions we make about each other here. I have never seen anyone suggest that people should fit a certain political profile to participate in the broader movement to rethink (or abolish) psychiatry. Frankly, I think anything like that would be very foolish and self-defeating. I think it is also problematic if we assume that the political opinions of those with whom we disagree are the result of character flaws. There are people on this page with whom I disagree very strongly on many issues of politics, but I do not assume that they are stupid or mean-spirited or evil just because they have different opinions than I do. I think that most of us do our best to discern good ideas from bad based on individual experience and the information that is available to us.

    At the end of the day each of us has to decide what we believe. So as a person inclined to be skeptical, I totally understand the arguments against climate science. My opinions on the matter are the result of my best efforts to discern what makes the most sense to me, and I know full well that I might be mistaken – as I might be mistaken about anything. I suppose the deciding factor that puts me squarely in the camp of climate justice is when I think about our options as a species.

    I feel that when the prospect is potentially the destruction of our species, we ought to abide by the precautionary principle. What happens if climate change deniers are wrong? Our species and many others will likely die off very soon, and in the interim, human life will likely become even more desperate and brutal than it is now. What happens if climate justice advocates are wrong? We will have transitioned to solar and wind energy (a transition which will need to be made eventually anyway, regardless), and we will no longer be dependent on fuels the extraction and burning of which wreck the environment (whether one believes in catastrophic global warming or not) and are often the hidden motive for war. In the first scenario we will have engineered our own hell on earth and in the second scenario, we may or may not be inconvenienced, but a handful of super-wealthy people will have to give up amassing greater wealth based on the sales of fossil fuels.

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    • No need to engage in a link war or an opinion poll among self proclaimed “climate experts” because science doesn’t work that way.

      There is no need to debate whether our understanding of gravity is good enough to make planes fly or to send probes to an object as distant as Pluto. We do it, period. That is how hard science works.

      Finally, I take issue with this,

      “I feel that when the prospect is potentially the destruction of our species, we ought to abide by the precautionary principle. What happens if climate change deniers are wrong?”

      Don’t take this the wrong way, but that argument sounds strikingly similar to the Torrey argument for forced drugging. Torrey recently engaged in a debate on the matter with Sandra Steingard in the Psychiatric Times (the link requires registration but you can google it). Torrey said something like that he didn’t deny that people labelled with “schizophrenia” could get better without drugs, rather, he said something like that because there was no way to tell in advance who those people were, the right think to do was to drug everyone using a risk benefit analysis.

      The current state of climate science is not advanced enough as to make accurate predictions about the climate 10, 20 or 100 years down the road. We know this because their predictions fail to materialize (either way, in fact, because the fad in the seventies among the intelligentsia was global cooling). Climate scientists engage in as much hindsight bias as psychiatrists do. But hindsight bias has no place in true science.

      We cannot base wide range policy decisions in a discipline, climate science, that has not proved itself to be accurate. This is not to say that we shouldn’t invest in climate science, quite the contrary, but we should not let those who preach the global warming gospel dictate policy for society at large.

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      • Wow.

        Don’t take this the wrong way, but that argument sounds strikingly similar to the Torrey argument for forced drugging.

        It’s hard to know what the “right” way to take a statement like that. It’s also difficult to imagine how you could have read what I had written and then saw fit to throw Torrey into the mix in that way. Presumably, you are saying that Torrey was invoking the precautionary principle by drugging EVERYONE because he didn’t know who would have recovered without being drugged. That might be true, but it could also be argued that the precautionary principle would dictate drugging NO ONE, since it is known that the drugs cause harm and it is not known who would benefit (if any). Still, all this has very little to do with anything I said and I think that injecting Torrey into the conversation in that way was uncalled for.

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        • These issues are difficult to talk about without getting into heated debates which is why I also vote for keeping them entirely out of the psychiatric survivor movement. Being inclusive means that you focus on what unites, not on what divides. And surely the whole global warming scare is a very divisive issue .

          You see, I take issue when I am called a “climate change denier” when all I am doing is applying my own scientific training on the matter of climate change the same way I apply it to debunk the psychiatric quackery.

          I am not “denying” anything. All I am saying is that the global warming alarmists made a set of doomsday predictions in the late 1990s (just as the global cooling alarmists made similar catastrophic predictions in the 1970s) that failed to materialize. So I that regard, I am just applying the scientific method.

          You took issue with me bringing Torrey into the equation, but if you stop for a moment and think about what’s the main driver behind Torrey’s prescription that everybody diagnosed with so called “schizophrenia” should be drugged by force if necessary, it is not very different from the driver behind those who want the world to substantially alter its economy only because some people “believe” that catastrophic global warming is inevitable: fear.

          In that regard, yes, I think that the same irrational fear that drives the Torreys of the world drives those who push catastrophic global warming propaganda.

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          • “global warming alarmists made a set of doomsday predictions in the late 1990s (just as the global cooling alarmists made similar catastrophic predictions in the 1970s) that failed to materialize.”

            Except that you’re wrong – they are already there:
            You can deny that but I can see it in my own backyard. I’ve not seen such warm winters as in the last 5yrs ever. It’s not one year which is odd – it’s progressing. Even if we have one big snowfall of epic proportions the average is strikingly hot. In where I live February should be the coldest month of the year but this winter I’ve not seen temperature go more than 1-2 degrees below zero Celsius. And it’s not the first year like this. Animals and plants get crazy and it’s already impacting agriculture. And this is in Europe which is relatively widely affected.

            How exactly are you debunking the climate change?It is nothing like psychiatry – global temperature can actually be measured all over the world and that is solid data. Just as the strength of hurricanes and anomalies like 2yr droughts. The seas are rising and it’s measurable and if you don’t believe ask people who live in low altitude Pacific islands. These are not subjective things – this is hard data.

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      • Global warming deniers? Haven’t I heard things from other deniers, Holocaust deniers, for instance? Seeing as “mental illness” is a myth, neither can be compared with “mental illness” deniers. The problem we have here is that people are saying we should be resigned to global warming. Not so, when we can do something about it. Down playing climate change is more of the same. We’re no longer on our way to an ice age, and that is disturbing. The arctic is melting, and polar bears are threatened. This is a nightmare someone might consider waking up from. More pollution, smokestack or pillbottle-wise, is just more snoozing.

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        • Frank,

          I agree 100% with everything you write on the matter of psychiatry. On this issue we will have to agree to disagree.

          With the data at hand, the catastrophic events predicted by the promoters of global warming (including the melting of the Earth poles) just has not happened. I read sometime in the early 2000s that if nothing was done to prevent CO2 emissions, NYC would be inundated by the mid 2010s. Guess what, such inundation has yet to happen and it is not going to happen in my lifetime.

          The scaremongering techniques used by Al Gore are of the same kind as those that Torrey uses to promote his own propaganda. Where Al Gore sees the poles melting inundating NYC, Torrey sees millions of so called “mentally ill” shooting innocent bystanders.

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  11. Meanwhile the APA has in the upcoming DSM VI identified two new disorders weather paranosis to be treated with the newly developed double blind icecappia a brainwork’s inhibitor. Also the disorder climatcomplacia to be treated by sneaking into your home as you sleep and turning on the water in your bathtub then watching from a hidden place your reaction to impartially judge if you require continuing assisted outpatient therapy with medication combinations made of rocket fuel.

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  12. Dear David,
    Thanks to you and Debra for marching in solidarity with New York,. Many of us did so up here in Vancouver, BC. So many of the young people we know who are getting themselves diagnosed are suffering feelings of despair over the devastation to their air, water and land. There are so many connections between the environment and the well being of our children and youth. It’s great when we find common ground in causes that are connected to and even bigger than our own. Let’s build as many bridges as we can. We’re all a part of the interdependent web of life.

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  13. Interesting post and comments as well. I’m a conservative and a believer in climate change and i’m often called a nut case so maybe there is a contrast. If you are a liberal and a believer you might be ok. It might depend on the box you are in or what box you checked. 🙂

    As someone that has worked for an electric utility for 36 years I can tell you they know climate change is real. Any new transmission line and a lot of the distribution lines built today in the upper part of the U.S. are being built to withstand stronger ice and wind storms. Many are moving to underground conductors at the distribution level. They also want to keep burning coal so there is this double edged sword in the fight.

    The science is real and the numbers are too depressing so maybe there is a connection between mental illness and climate change in more ways than one.

    We can move rapidly to renewable energy and we will peacefully or kicking and screaming.

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