Is climate trauma rewiring our brain?
In 2020, an unprecedented wildfire nearly burned down the entire towns of Malden and Pine City. In 2021, severe flooding in Whatcom County submerged 75% of homes in Sumas. That same year, a heat dome brought record breaking triple digit temperatures to the Pacific Northwest.
These climate events forever change the communities that survive them, and the changes go beyond the visible damage. Climate trauma may also be impacting people’s brains.
That’s according to a new study from researchers at the University of California San Diego and California State University. The team took brain scans of more than 70 residents directly affected by the 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed the California town of Paradise and remains the deadliest fire in the state’s history.
Jyoti Mishra, an associate professor of psychiatry and associate director of the UC Climate and Mental Health Initiative, joined Soundside to break down the findings.