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Psychology for a Safe Climate Monthly Newsletter, February 2021
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This month Psychology for a Safe Climate is welcoming a new team member on board. It is with warmth we welcome Maria Brett, taking on the new role of Outreach Project Leader. Those of you who donated to our fundraiser last year, together with the very generous grant donors, have contributed to our capacity to fund her position, Thank you all. Maria comes to us with fabulous experience and skill. We will have an interview with her about her background and new role in next month's newsletter.  We've also been busy already this year with workshops around bushfires, climate grief and the impact of climate change on our lives. Whilst grief about the impact of climate change can be a huge topic, the other side of this experience can often be one of hope - or what has been termed radical hope. The space to contact pain and hopelessness can be the path to dislodging something within us, and can open us up to considering how we might engage deeply with the reality of the climate crisis.

This month, we've been gravitating towards articles that embody a sense of hope. You'll find this newsletter full of folks passionate about doing something about the climate crisis- from activists, to psychologists, to researchers and environmental scientists. What is striking about these crusaders is that none of these individuals advocate for ignoring our hurt or the severity of the climate situation. It is a raw honesty with the world that has paved a pathway for hope in action. We hope you can find a bit of light in them also.

Warmly,
Bianca, Carol and the PSC team


Upcoming events 

Acknowledging our grief about climate change

A workshop for those working on climate change as activists, researchers, scientists or policy makers and advocates.

The work so many are doing means thinking about the realities of climate change every day. It can mean living with the here and now implications of climate change impacts. This workshop will provide a space for participants to reflect on and express the emotional burden of working on climate change, especially the many faces of grief. There will also be a segment on self care.
 


Saturday 27th February 2pm-5pm
Cost $40, Concession $20
Book your place here
 
     Interesting reads
 

Ecologists buy 1,000-acre blue gum plantation and transform it into wetland it once was

  • Good news story about a small, ecological not-for-profit, Nature Glenelg Trust, purchasing a piece of land near Grampians National Park in order to restore it to it's original wetland status
  • Details how, through the process of rewilding the land, former wildlife are beginning to return, including grassfrogs and long-neck turtles
  • The implication for this is that it is possible to reverse the devastating effects of the loss of 85% of the world's wetlands to agriculture and human population expansion as wetland wildlife populations vanished. This article offers a glimmer of hope about the capacity to restore the earth's natural habitats. Read it in full here.

Got Climate Anxiety? These People Are Doing Something About It

  • According to 2020 data from the American Psychological Association, more than half of American's are concerned about climate change's impact on their mental health. This New York Times article is shines a light on this growing experiencing of climate distress, but takes an optimistic tone by highlighting those in the United States who are raising awareness and support.
  • The article highlights how, for folks like Britt Wray of the Gen Dread newsletter, contacting her own climate grief was a pathway to starting a newsletter on anxiety and climate change, with the aim of making people feel less alone.
  • Dr. Van Strusen of the Climate Psychology Alliance highlights that "eco-distress can manifest in a range of ways, from anguish over what the future will hold to extreme guilt over individual purchases and behaviours" and that, whilst this may mirror symptoms of clinical anxiety, it is important not the pathologise climate anxiety. She normalises intense anxiety based on the scientific evidence
  • Dr. Kritee of the Environmental Defence Fund and Sherrie Benodie, co-founder of Native American Counselling and Healing Collective, are bringing light to the racial disparity apparent in those hardest hit by climate disasters, and that this is compounded by racial trauma. Benodie highlights that Indigenous folks are always grieving their land, and that, for non-Indigenous folks, environmental grieving includes acknowledging the traumas inflicted about Indigenous communities.
  • The overarching message of this piece is that our grief for the planet should not be avoided. This piece does a wonderful job at spotlighting some amazing women who are creating spaces to contact this pain. Read it in full here.
Greta Thunberg effect: People familiar with young climate activist may be more likely to act
  • This article highlights the findings of a study on US adults, displaying that Americans who are more familiar with Greta Thunberg are also more confident about and willing to take action on climate change. The researchers term this the "Greta Thunberg effect".
  • Results showed that those more familiar with Greta are more likely to think their actions for mitigating climate change are meaningful. The researchers postulate that this could be due to Greta's own story, where she began doing strikes independently and has since inspired millions to join.
  • Furthermore, the researchers point to a message of hope in Greta's campaigning and that she fiercely embodies her message that dominant institutions can and should be challenged as a further mobilising factor in those familiar with Greta.
  • Across their sample, the study showed that the impact of the Greta Thunberg effect was similar across age group and political views, though was slightly stronger among those with liberal values. Read it in more depth here.
 

QUT Climate Change Survey- Invitation to Participate

Research study: Understanding people’s experiences and responses to global climate change in Australia and the Pacific. Participate here.

                 

PSC volunteers are based on the lands of the Wurundjeri tribe of the Kulin nation. We acknowledge their elders past, present and future.
PSC acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are Australia’s First Peoples and the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we work.
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Psychology for a Safe Climate · PO Box 27 Fairfield · Alphington · Melbourne, Vic 3078 · Australia

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