USFWS Downplays Scope Of It’s “Ecogrief” Training Program

Last month, it was reported that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) would host trainings to treat a psychological condition called ecogrief. Shortly after this was made known, House Republicans announced they would conduct an investigation into the classes and the hearings as part of the probe took place today on Capitol Hill.

The Fish and Wildlife Service downplayed the scope of its training for employees to handle “ecogrief,” telling Congress on Thursday that no more than 150 employees took the classes and calling the sessions “small bore.”

Steven Guertin, the agency’s deputy director for policy, said the agency is still working to compile all the details of the training in response to a request from lawmakers.

Early data suggests the training was limited, he said.

“It was not mandatory. It’s pretty small bore,” he told the House Natural Resources Committee.

Like The Times points out, the American Psychological Association said in a 2020 article that not much is known about the condition but children, teens, climate scientists, and activists can be susceptible to suffering from grief associated with climate-related mental health issues.

No doubt sudden changes in the climate, including the demise of forms of nature (like forests) or the deaths of creatures (like whales or lions) can be traumatic depending on the context. But eco grief is a form of grief and should be treated as such and not as a separate category. Small wonder the Fish & Wildlife service had a hard time recruiting people to take training ecogrief sessions.

If anyone is suffering or has suffered from ecogrief it is the people of East Palestine, Ohio. They deserve ecoanxiety therapy sessions and not USFWS employees.