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The Green Life: Earth on the Brain: From Apathy to Obsession

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May 14, 2008

Earth on the Brain: From Apathy to Obsession

Globehead People in wealthy, carbon-spewing countries tend to express less concern over global warming than their counterparts in countries with smaller carbon footprints, according to an online study of 46 countries conducted at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The United States ranks among the most eco-apathetic, with the Netherlands taking the number one position.

That apathy is not for lack of knowledge. A Havas media survey finds that Americans have the greatest understanding of global warming. In fact, Americans are increasingly feeling the strain of what some journalists are calling eco-overload. Bombarded with an onslaught of eco-awareness, a growing number of people are experiencing feelings of green guilt, green fatigue, and eco-anxiety. New terms like orthorexia (obsession with food quality) and nature deficit disorder (behavioral problems resulting from a lack of interaction with nature) have entered the cultural lexicon.

Is there a cure for eco-neurosis? Some Californians are turning to eco-therapy, while other Americans ease their minds by confessing eco-sins online.

--Della Watson

Sources:  AlphaGalileo, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, Salon.com, ForecastEarth, Treehugger, San Francisco Magazine

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