A long-time environmental activist is asking authorities in Canada to approve his assisted suicide, due to his anxiety over climate change.
According to Vice, Howard Breen has dedicated his life to the environment. He is a member of the group Extinction Rebellion, and has gone so far as to super glue himself to log booms. His activism became so extreme that he was diagnosed with “clinical eco-anxiety” and “biosphere related depression.” Breen is allegedly so concerned about climate change that he experiences panic attacks and depression. The answer now, he feels, is for him to die.
“It becomes debilitating,” he told Vice. “The depression that I’m feeling around the state of things, and my inability to not be apprehensive about the future of my children specifically, is a huge concern for me.”
He has now applied for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), for the second time now; he originally applied in 2021, but was denied. And though the MAiD program was originally just for those who are terminally ill, it has since been expanded to allow those said to have low quality of life to be eligible as well. Allegedly, Breen has the support of not only his family, but his general practitioner as well.
“I do feel that if things were to change a great deal, I want that option and, at the moment, I’m being prohibited from having that choice,” he said. “It’s not a stunt. It’s a very real reaction.”
When Breen originally applied for MAiD, he thought climate change would kill him before he had the chance to commit suicide. Yet a year later, Breen is still alive — and he still wants to die. “I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of what could happen if we don’t act on climate change,” Breen said. “I don’t think many people love the planet—they’re too caught up living on it. I don’t want to live on a planet where I have to kill to survive.”
Breen is merely the latest person whose request for assisted suicide in Canada has raised eyebrows. Last month, many were shocked when it was revealed that a woman was allowed to undergo assisted suicide because she lived with chemical sensitivities, and did not have the money to allow her to move. Like Breen, the woman was not ill or dying, but simply wanted to die — and authorities in Canada allowed the suicide to take place. “The government sees me as expendable trash, a complainer, useless and a pain in the a**,” the woman, named only as Sophia, said before her death.
Only time will tell if the government will find Breen’s life to be as expendable as it wrongly felt Sophia’s was.
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