Even though watching the evening news might be depressing, the world’s problems do nodisappear when the TV turns off.
Crisis fatigue, when people stop caring about crises because they have been burned out by the news updates, is very counterproductive to social change and human interest in general.
Turning off the news and refusing to take a look at the day’s headlines fosters a quiet complacency that, if widespread enough, can be devastating. Social reform can only happen if enough people care, and more importantly, if enough people show that they care.
Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Seven months later, thousands are dead because of one regime’s megalomaniac ambitions. Ukrainian families are facing more than just the death of soldiers but also threats to their civilians, children and cultural heritage as a whole.
Since January of this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that over 62,000 people around the world have contracted monkeypox. Mass media has frequently used the phrase “men who have sex with men” in close connection with the monkeypox outbreak, despite the fact that anyone can contract the virus.
Black squares on Instagram did not cure racism after the murder of George Floyd, and Facebook calls for thoughts and prayers for the victims of the
Uvalde mass shooting did not put a stop to gun violence.
Social change is not brought about by passive mention of this crisis or that tragedy, but by playing an active role in targeted discussion around the topic at hand and actually taking action.
Because the U.S. is such a huge and diverse country and is not at threat of invasion from its neighbors, Americans may think they have little reason to pay attention to wars on the other side of the world.
Wars around the world involve normal people who would otherwise be working or providing for their families. Every death in every war around the world has some sort of human impact. Even without the human aspect of wars outside of the U.S., the global economy is so interconnected that the slightest disturbance can derail it for quite some time.
Even with more domestic issues, the American populace is very good at forgetting and moving on. Mass shootings are a frighteningly common phenomenon, but get little to no airtime. Even so, such indiscriminate killing has resulted in very little legislation on gun violence.
All this said, it is important to keep in mind that taking a
breather is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Activism requires rest so burnout can be avoided, especially if one’s mental health is being negatively affected.
Social reform cannot happen if people bury their heads in the sand to escape the crises plaguing the world. Viruses spread and guns fire whether or not people are paying attention. It is our job to spread awareness and deal with the crises as they come.