Platonic tree-hugging is a fetish practised by many green/climate academics. It was celebrated in a piece by Charles Sturt lecturer Shelby Gull Laird at the monoversity and taxpayer-funded (but anti-free speech) outlet The Conversation. “Are we all tree-huggers?” she asked. Her suggestions include “Spend some time sitting under a tree. And if you’re so inclined, maybe even give it a cuddle.”
The global arts community is not always into trees platonically. Minnesota’s Conceptual Artist Genevieve Belleveau, daughter of an environmental educator, has described her psychedelic drug-enhanced tree affairs, starting with a birch tree at age eight:
"Fascination, and love, and the sense that the tree accepted my feelings—that even if she didn’t love me back, exactly, she was receptive to my love for her… kissing her and hugging her I felt a kind of shame afterwards, because I did that to a living entity without its consent … I don’t think it’s that bad that I humped the tree or whatever.”
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared, "Climate change is the greatest health challenge of the 21st century, and threatens all aspects of the society in which we live." Now COVID-19 has top billing as the existential health threat, but the proposed response is the same, writes Marc Morano in the fall issue of issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
"Climate distress is very difficult, if not impossible, to bear alone...The IPCC report is the bearer of alarming news for all on Earth. How can we best hear and respond to this alarm, caring for ourselves and others while mustering motivation and commitment for desperately needed action? The research of climate psychology tells us that rather than suppress or avoid our distress, we need to welcome it as a healthy response to the climate crisis. If we are not feeling some level of fear and grief, we are in denial. Acknowledging the myriad feelings of distress we have in response to climate breakdown is crucial for sustained action in response. Our feelings show us how much we care about our world, our communities, our lives and our loved ones. This caring is the basis for the action and change our world needs from us all right now.