In a well-functioning society, bank robbers aren’t hired to be tellers, shoplifters are passed over for store security, and drinking and driving will get one fired from Uber.
So why is it okay for teachers suffering from climate anxiety to teach classes and spread that anxious disorder to students by convincing them the climate is already in crisis?
An interesting example of when teachers go a little far beyond the creative process is Beth Osnes.
Spoiler alert: she’s an associate professor of theatre (sic) and environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder — because science and theater have become so interchangeable in the modern era of feelings over facts.
While conducting research to instruct a class on
scientific “creative climate communications,” Osnes admits she became so traumatized by what she was going to teach college students that she developed climate anxiety.
Osnes told Colorado Public Radio:
“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 said. “Just the knowledge of what’s happening to our planet, it feels almost disabling. It almost puts your heart on the ground. And we can’t address the climate crisis if our hearts are on the ground.”
The College Fix also writes about Osnes’ traumatic experience, and how it became the basis for her climate performance protest art to save the planet.
It encompasses everything we’ve come to expect from CU Boulder.
She can’t teach climate crisis if her heart is on the ground, but she can teach the climate is in crisis when she and her students dress like butterflies and pretend to metamorphosize.
From The Butterfly Affect webpage:
The Butterfly Affect is a guided experience to travel through a butterfly’s metamorphosis from egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, to butterfly. It is an invitation for homo sapiens to go inside and contemplate growth within themselves—to emerge transformed and ready to co-create an equitable, survivable, and thrive-able world for life and the eco-systems upon which life depends.
Effect versus Affect
“The butterfly effect theory” posits that a butterfly’s wing beating on one side of the world can cause a tornado on the other side of the world. Small changes can result in large and distant consequences. “Effect” (noun) is the change that has already happened. “Affect” (verb) is the action that causes change now. If climate is the aggregated effect of weather patterns over time, many of us united in action can change the climate. We can reverse global warming. The beatings of your wings and heart through The Butterfly Affect can travel around the world to create a more equitable, survivable, and thrive-able world.
So, yeah. Unless society is all equitable, the planet is like, going to die. Or something.
The performance may help Onses deal with her own trauma, but what the Hell will it inflict on students?
— Sean Paige (@SeanPaige) January 31, 2024