The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has caused grave psychological responses - overriding ones being anger, depression and helplessness.
The widespread anger is just another way of masking the really unfathomable and profound despair that has erupted after the spill of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, said Deborah Du Nann Winter at Whitman College.
According to an interview conducted by Susan Koger at Willamette University in Salem, Winter predicted a great deal of chronic depression, withdrawal, and lack of functioning among not only people directly affected by the events in the Gulf, but also people all over the world.
Winter expressed her own attempts to deal with the negative emotions she is experiencing by focusing at times on the "tremendous self-sacrifice and generosity of spirit" among those affected by the spill and those helping to contain it and clean up the oil.
Winter said, "This disaster is probably just the kick in the pants that the environmental movement has needed."
She hopes that the spill is the tipping point, which will finally renew environmental activism and changes in attitudes and behaviours.
The interview is published in Ecopsychology.