Do you feel panic when you read the news? Do you experience panic and guilt about what you eat? Do you feel you are a bad person because you are contributing to the greenhouse effect? Do you consider yourself weak willed because you don't exercise as much as someone you have seen on television?
I tend to feel panic and have all these guilty feelings based on information I have been exposed to.
Recently a friend asked if I wanted to go to a second hand book sale with her. I was interested but uncertain as it seemed to go against my decluttering beliefs. I have donated quite a few books to charity. Did I want to accumulate more books? I could borrow books if I wanted any. But I went along anyway and came home with several books. I calmed my conscious by telling myself I would donate some of them when I had finished with them.
One of the books I bought has helped calm some of my feelings of panic, fear and guilt. Have you ever heard an ad saying, 'If you only see one movie this summer, see...'? My version of that is, 'If you only read one book this year, read, Don't Panic, Panic!
Image by Marie Vonow
I better quickly explain this is not a doom and gloom book. Instead it questions whether all our anxieties regarding threats to the planet Earth and ourselves are justified. It looks at the way issues can be misinterpreted and misrepresented. It says there are groups with vested interests who manipulate information and some 'facts' we hear are inaccurate because people don't understand the science underlying the information.
The author, John L. Farrands, is an Australian physicist and engineer. He has written the book in a level headed way, aiming to give a balanced representation. In the preface he explains, '...I have been moved to write this book by what I perceive to be a social need, and in defence of good science which I love. I want to cast light on the factors outside science which enter the debates and cloud our judgment.' He encourages people to realise there are two sides, sometimes more, to most issues.
The author states, 'People are not only cautious about, but are now terrified of sex, butter, sugar, tea, coffee, meat, eggs, smoking, alcohol, insect sprays, stress, radiation, sunlight, nuclear power, fossil fuels, mercury in fish, and white paper.' He goes on to say there can be some risks in some situations, especially when things are in excess but fearing the 'essence' of these things is going overboard.
Courtesy of Pixabay
Farrands says he doesn't have the 'right' answers to debates on environmental and health topics and adds there probably aren't any. He points out science can't answer all the problems of modern times and science can be misused in the interests of 'special groups'. He provides examples and encourages what he calls 'reasonable scepticism'.
Topics covered in some detail include -
changes in the global climate
natural environmental issues
To be honest, I skimmed through some sections. However, the overall point is that one shouldn't panic about many of the things one becomes aware of through the media. And one doesn't need to feel so guilty about them either.