A Guest Post from Dr. Horowitz on Climate Grief
Far north in western Antarctica, sits the widest glacier in the world. Roughly the size of the state of Florida, and contains enough ice to raise the sea levels by 10 feet: The Thwaites Glacier. Pan toward the eastern portion of the Thwaites Glacier, and you’ll find the Thwaites Ice shelf. Until recently, this ice shelf has held Thwaites back from the ocean. But now, it’s melting- and quickly too. The culprit? Climate change, a crisis of which we are approaching with terrifying rapidity.
Climate change is the defining issue of our time, and we are at the defining moment. Currently, we are edging closer to an environmental precipice. It is vital that we act now before we tip over the edge, with potentially irreversible consequences. Not only will this have disastrous effects on our climate, but on the health of our citizens- in this country, and globally. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Further, with the collapse of biodiversity, comes the spread of infectious diseases. Vector-borne infections are already on the rise, and there is evidence that as permafrost melts, we may encounter new infections, triggering another pandemic.
So, what could our world look like if we continue on our current path? That is the future I imagine in my upcoming novel, Starseed R/evolution: The Awakening. The year is 2037, and the Earth is in the midst of a deadly climate crisis, prompting the massive spread of various vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Chemical pollutants have left birth rates at an all-time low, and crop destruction has led to massive famines. The world’s only hope lies in the hands of Crown Prince Ian, the last surviving heir of the Royal Arcturian Family of Antwar. He’s a half-human/half-alien with an IQ approaching 200, a penchant for Swiss chocolates, and defending humanity from itself.
I’ll be honest, penning a cli-fi novel wasn’t originally on my bucket list. I have worked as a physician treating individuals with Lyme and tick-borne diseases for over 30 years. My previously published books are purely scientific in nature, and outline how healthcare providers can effectively diagnose and treat resistant chronic illness. However, the worlds of healthcare and climate science are far closer than one might imagine. According to the World Health Organization, “Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.” As someone who has taken an oath to heal, how could I ignore this quickly impending health crisis?
Further, I began to see the grim effects of climate change in my day-to-day work. A good deal of my patients are young adults. Following treatment, I would ask them, “What do you plan on doing with your life now that you’re healthy”? Quite often, the response was the same, “Nothing, what’s the point”. These young people were struck by what is known as “climate grief”. To them, the state of the planet seemed so hopeless, that what they wanted to do with their lives was irrelevant and meaningless. It was at that point that I knew I needed to do a deep dive into climate science literature, to get a better understanding of my patients’ mentalities. Unfortunately, I found that they were right. The planet was in trouble, and world leaders were ignoring climate science and putting everyone’s futures at risk.
Starseed R/evolution: The Awakening arose primarily out of my desire to combat this “climate grief” in my young patients. I wanted to disseminate vital information in a way that would have the reader laughing and learning simultaneously. The truth is, we do need radical change if we are to avoid a potential climate disaster, but that change is possible. Throughout the novel, I have outlined real-world scientific and cultural solutions. If enough people are truly committed to making a difference, I believe we can use these solutions to make our planet a safer and healthier place for everyone to live. The Earth is in trouble, so let’s all roll up our sleeves and get to work. If you’re interested in joining the “r/evolution”, my book is available for pre-order now!
About the Author
From the mind of acclaimed physician and author, Dr. Richard Horowitz, MD comes a new novel: Starseed R/evolution: The Awakening. Dr. Richard Horowitz, MD is a board-certified internist with 30+ years of experience treating over 13,000 patients for tick-borne disorders and complex autoimmune conditions. He is the author of two national best-selling books on Lyme disease (Why Can’t I Get Better? St Martin’s Press, 2013, NY Times Best Seller; How Can I Get Better? St Martin’s Press, 2017, National Bestseller). After years of treating complex patients, Dr. Horowitz felt called to treat a newer, and much larger patient: Mother Earth.