Fear and uncertainty about climate change
The current risks posed by climate change, along with the fear and uncertainty about what climate change may bring in the future, can lead to stress and anxiety. Climate change is already affecting businesses, communities, and individuals, and it is challenging to predict how these effects might change in the future. The scope of the problem can feel overwhelming, while the ability to individually influence it can feel daunting.
Distress caused by environmental changes
Environmental degradation caused by climate change can result in a feeling of loss or grief, especially for people with emotional connections to and personal memories of their local environment. For example, a lack of snow and ice cover in winter, or the presence of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) on Lake Champlain, can be depressing for those with nostalgic memories of earlier, more pristine versions of these environments.
Disruptions to businesses and hobbies
Tropical Storm Irene resulted in over $10 million in crop losses for Vermont farmers, while Vermont ski resorts suffered from an extremely warm winter in 2015 – 2016. These types of impacts affect not only personal finances but also a way of life. In the same way, skiers, gardeners, hikers, swimmers, and other outdoor recreationalists are being affected by abnormal weather patterns and new risks including ticks and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae).
Trauma related to flooding and other disasters
Those affected by disasters often experience traumatic stress during the event, post-traumatic stress following the event, and grief or depression over losses that occurred as a result of the disaster. These conditions were commonly reported around Vermont as a result of the loss of life, injuries, property and business damage, and environmental damage that occurred during Tropical Storm Irene.
Impacts associated with physical health problems
Climate change is increasing risks for heat stress, infectious diseases, and seasonal allergic reactions. People affected by these conditions also often suffer from stress and depression related to feeling unwell, needing to undergo treatment, or having to reduce participation in typical daily activities.