Under the Weather: Interior Dept. Offering Employees ‘Eco-Grief Training’

February 16th, 2023 10:38 AM

It’s hard out there for a federal Fish and Wildlife Service employee. It’s not just the long days of bullying property owners, collecting gray wolf sperm samples and dealing with smart asses asking for a license for their pet fish Eric. It’s the gnawing “ecogrief” that grinds you down.

But the government feels your pain, and it's here to help. “The Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service is offering “ecogrief” training to employees who are struggling with a sense of trauma or loss as they witness a changing environment,” reported Stephen Dinan in the Washington Times.

Ecogrief, AKA “eco-anxiety,” is common on liberal arts campuses, in big-city newsrooms, and wherever people use the word “barista” without irony. “The American Psychological Association says it can manifest as a sense of being overwhelmed by the immensity of changes to the environment, or even a sense of ‘anticipated loss’ — essentially mourning what someone believes to be inevitable, particularly with climate change,” Dinan explained, and noted that Ecoanxiety.com (really) says “Eco-anxiety isn’t a recognized medical condition. But general anxiety is, and eco-anxiety has many of the same characteristics.”


And since taxpayer dollars share many of the same characteristics as real dollars, Fish and Wildlife is spending some on eco-grief.

The training is being offered in the Southwest region and will give sensitive federal sturgeon stockers “a chance to define what they mean by ecological grief, space to examine their emotional reactions and tools to grapple with those feelings, the agency said in a note to employees,” wrote Dinan. 

Traumatized turtle trustees and shell-shocked stoat stewards will be bucked up by a full menu of fizzy buzzwords and New Age navel-gazing:

“This 4-hour workshop seeks to normalize the wide range of emotional responses that conservationists experience while empowering participants to act while taking care of themselves,” the notice said. “The workshop is intended for those experiencing ecological grief and for those who wish to support them.”

(If Dinan typed that with a straight face, he’s a better man than I.)

Of course, there are nay-sayers and skeptics: House Republicans with oversight responsibility are loading up to oversight the hell out of this nonsense. And there’s an inevitable anonymous Fish and Wildlife employee (who clearly didn’t get the childhood hugs and unconditional acceptance he needed) that doesn’t think much of the program:

The employee cast the ecogrief training as part of a larger push toward that “woke” agenda. Other examples include having employees take part in LBGTQ pride events while wearing agency clothing, complete with a special “FWS pride” rainbow logo.

Maybe it was meant to celebrate the trout?

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