‘We’re documenting destruction of world’s most beautiful ecosystems, it’s impossible to be detached’

The ecological disaster is taking its toll on scientists’ mental health, with top researchers saying those working in the field must be supported and “allowed to cry”.

Leading researchers have published a letter saying many scientists experience “strong grief responses” to the ecological crisis and there are profound risks of ignoring this emotional trauma.

The letter, published in the journal Science, calls on academic institutions to support scientists and allow them to address their ecological grief professionally.

Professor Andy Radford from the University of Bristol, and co-writer, said: “The emotional burden of this kind of research should not be underestimated. Grief, when unaddressed, can cloud judgement, inhibit creativity and engender a sense that there is no way forward,” he said.

Authors of the letter say environmental scientists often respond to the degradation of the natural world by suppressing or denying painful emissions while at work.

Tim Gordon, lead author of the letter and a marine biologist from the University of Exeter, said:

“We’re documenting the destruction of the world’s most beautiful and valuable ecosystems, and it’s impossible to remain emotionally detached.

“When you spend your life studying places like the Great Barrier Reef or the Arctic ice caps, and then watch them bleach into rubble fields or melt into the sea, it hits you really hard.”

Read more: Independent