On Sunday, September 21, 2014, here in Eugene Oregon, I participated, with my wonderful wife Debra, in a local rally to support the major march in New York City for climate justice.
Everyone and every group working for mental health justice ought to make fighting global warming a priority right now. Of course, the whole disability movement, and in fact all sentient beings should be concerned about climate crisis, but those of us working for human rights and more choices for mental wellness have special reasons to make this planetary catastrophe a unifying theme for all of us.
Martin Luther King frequently talked about the importance of creative maladjustment as an answer to oppression, and many environmentalists are wondering where humanity’s creativity and maladjustment are right about now. The Mad Movement knows that the psychiatric industry has ground down the human spirit for centuries, but we never ever give up! MLK resisted the war in Vietnam toward the end of his life, and some civil rights activists were mystified that he seemed to be off topic. However, MLK knew that we are all in one big movement for the “beloved community,” as he put it.
But if you need something very specific to connect the Mad Movement to global warming, here it is: Those of us called psychotic are often coerced to take neuroleptic drugs (sometimes called antipsychotics), and these drugs are well known to suppress the temperature-regulatory part of the brain. During a heat wave, prison reformers have been talking about how horrible it is that those in non-air-conditioned prisons where people are forced to take these drugs often die. Well, most USA states have laws allowing citizens to be forcibly court-ordered to take these drugs while living at home out in the community.
In fact, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) has a bill to expand this outpatient forced drugging to many other Americans, ask him how many. People who are forcibly drugged tend to be poor and often do not have air conditioning, so coerced psychiatric pharmaceuticals can be a death sentence. The media have tended to avoid this topic, maybe because they are afraid that we will quit our drugs, as I did back in 1977.
I have always felt that we are in one big movement for a peaceful revolution, including about the environment.
Here is something I have been taking action against for a few years: one of the worst defenders of climate crisis is the huge US Chamber of Commerce based in Washington, DC. The US Chamber was taken over a number of years ago by a few big corporations that promote the current economic system.
Here in Eugene, Oregon, and in almost every medium and large city in the USA, there is a local Chamber of Commerce. It may surprise you to hear that your local chamber tends to be fairly independent from the big US Chamber. There is a campaign to have some of the locally-based chambers speak out that the US Chamber of Commerce is all wrong about global warming.
For years, the leading climate crisis group, 350, has had a campaign to ask each chamber of commerce to say “The US Chamber does not speak for us!” This campaign has only been able to convince 56 of the chambers to speak out. But we psychiatric survivors tend to not give up. I have helped mobilize several actions requesting that the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce make a statement of concern about human-caused global warming. I have organized several public events, street theater, protests, and lots of communication by email and even letters to the editor.
Unfortunately, the Eugene Area Chamber has refused to speak up about this disaster that may become one of the worst catastrophes in the history of planet Earth. Scientists know for certain that global warming is horrible. And there is a risk of run-away climate crisis that threatens life on Earth. I call this danger Normalgeddon. Here is where we stand:Read More