Lin Zahrt: Climate change and mental health |

Lin Zahrt: Climate change and mental health

Lin Zahrt

Carson City was mentioned in the New York Times the last couple of years due to its temperatures rising on average 4 degrees in summer, more than any other place in the U.S.

Studies show higher temperatures or extreme rainfall increase conflict between groups and individuals in all ethnicities and all regions. This means more assaults, murders, suicides and general societal unrest.

When particulate matter from air pollution crosses the blood-brain barrier there are higher incidents of mental and neurological problems, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS. And children can experience attention problems, anxiety and depression, according to the American Psychological Association. The widespread chemicals in air pollution are the byproducts of burning fossil fuels.

Dr. Lise Van Susteren, psychiatrist, writer and speaker, states: “Everything related to climate change carries an emotional toll.” She compares our general anxiety about the changing climate to PTSD. But it’s also like a pre-traumatic stress disorder when frequent worries about the future manifest themselves. This is especially true in young people. Take it a step wider to the world, and see the droughts, sea rise and extreme weather erasing people’s homes, livelihood and nature that surrounded and calmed them, and what do you get by countries in turmoil, fear and aggression?

But let’s come back to Carson City and Northern and Southern Nevada. What can we do about climate change and the stress it’s putting on our families, our communities, our flora and fauna, our police, fire and health service providers, and, the future of Mother Earth?

There’s something concrete we can do right now as a collective body: Ask our senators and representatives to enact a market-based climate solution. The plan is to place a gradually-rising fee on the carbon content of fuels and rebate the revenues to the American people.

Go to to see the policy details of Carbon Fee and Dividend, its benefits and positive impact. Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) has been working with Congress several years to bring relief to the ever-growing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Citizens’ Climate Lobby is a national, non-partisan, non-profit, grassroots advocacy group that’s encouraging federal law makers to bring Carbon Fee and Dividend to fruition. The motto of CCL is Political Will for a Livable World. Find the local Carson City CCL chapter on Facebook and at