Psychology for a Safe Climate Monthly Newsletter, January 2021
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As we welcome in the 2021, Psychology for a Safe Climate are turning our energy firmly towards the experience of ecological grief. The impacts of the 2019/20 Australian bushfires, ecologically, financially and emotionally still reverberate through the hearts of the communities on the frontlines of those experiences and those who watched in horror from afar. Psychology for a Safe Climate has partnered with Fire Feels, Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action and Environment Victoria, as part of the Sustainable Living Festival, to offer ecological grief and storytelling workshops to the general public with the aim of bringing us back together into community to reflect. We acknowledge how the impact of coronavirus on Australia, right after this devastating ecological loss, meant that the time to process, to grieve and to be supported by one another was largely eclipsed. Grieving and making sense of loss, when done in communion with one another, can be a pathway to our wild love for the world.

How do others who are fiercely facing the realities of the ecological crisis hold grief? How does are mourning transform into something larger than ourselves? Can we keep showing up for the future of the earth, each other, and all beings with the knowledge that there is more loss to come? The answers to these questions are unique to each one of us and may or may not be answerable. In this newsletter you'll find some offerings that might help you ponder grief, from expressions of vulnerable fear, to anger that turns into climate action, to developing a wider lens on the perils of our time. It is our sincerest hope that some of the offerings of Psychology for a Safe Climate and others in this space helps lessen the burden of our individual hurt for the world.

Bianca, Carol and the PSC team

Upcoming events 

Feeling the fires, a year on: Climate grief and storytelling

Throughout 2019/2020, bushfires and chronic smoke ravaged much of Australia. Just as the recovery work was beginning, Covid-19 sent us all into isolation, right when we needed to connect and reflect.

This public workshop, part of the 2021 National Sustainable Living Festival, will provide a safe space for people to reflect on and express their feelings about the bushfires and climate change more broadly. The workshop will focus on fostering emotional awareness and self-care in response to the variety of intense feelings and experiences these events can generate. It will also include a storytelling activity, and participants will have the opportunity to publish their story online at FireFeels (

Important caution:
Our PSC workshops provide an opportunity for education about the psychological, emotional, and physical impact of climate change, together with a chance to process those experiences and learn some ways to help manage impacts. A workshop is not psychotherapy, however if requested, we are able to offer resources to help find a suitable therapist.

Bairnsdale workshop, Saturday 13th February 2pm-5:30pm
Book here

Zoom workshop, Saturday 20th February 2pm-5:30pm
Book here

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
     An interesting read
Is it OK to have a child?
  • A both heart-breaking and empowering piece, Meehan Crist tackles the polarising question "Is it OK to have a child?". You can read or listen; it is long, but well worth it. Crist dives into the world of systemic oppression to dissect this question, positioning it against the backdrop of the terrifying climate realities of our time, and the financial and philosophical perspectives that have gotten society to this unique point in time.
  • Crist amplifies that the choice to have a child is not a lifestyle choice that is in the same vein as choosing a certain diet or a new form of travel. Placing the onus on folks who want to be parents to stop the climate crisis by not procreating allows for industries, politicians and wealthy stakeholders doing the most amount of damage to continue to absolve themselves of scrutiny or the responsibility to change.
  • Without denying the reality of the ecological limits of the earth, Crist encourages readers to be critical of "rights-based strategies to reduce carbon emissions", highlighting that this usually leads to "place the burden of solving the problem on women’s bodies, particularly the bodies of poor black and brown women, while demanding very little of those who actually caused the problem"
  • Crist avoids offering an easy answer, a right or wrong solution to the question. Rather, she sits in the space of weighing pessimism against fatalism, exploring that some may lack hope for the future, but still not give up on it entirely. Crist, herself, chooses to believe in a hopeful future. One in which neoliberal solutions to the climate crisis is not the only option, in which a genuine realisation of our interconnectedness meets the deeply ingrained histories of oppression and that it is from here that we start to consider what the world could be beyond that. Read it all here.

Worth a listen

Joëlle Gergis on mourning and making sense of what we have lost on the frontlines of the climate crisis
In her conversation on Full Story, Joëlle Gergis, reflects on her essay we shared back in the November newsletter. Gergis shares both the factual realities of the climate crisis, alongside her honest expression of grief and fear for the future of human history. Gergis reflects about the impact of the bushfires, the impact of political inaction and the cognitive dissonance we engage in when talking about the climate crisis and climate activism. She shares with vulnerability the confusion and heartbreak she feels at witnessing these events. You can listen in full here.


What to watch
Transitions Film Festival
Happening predominately virtually, TFF aims to tackle this unique planetary time of immense upheaval and transition. Using short, feature and VR documentaries, TFF explores how we consciously move towards a sustainable civilization with creativity. Book a spot here.

Beyond the Burning Screening

Now the smoke has cleared, how can we move forward from last summer’s devastating bushfires? Through intimate personal stories, Beyond the Burning explores the terrible toll of this tragedy, the underlying causes of climate change and destructive logging, and two inspiring local solutions – handing back forest management to Traditional Owners and rebuilding with renewables. This screening will be preceded by a panel discussion.

Tuesday February 23rd 8pm-10pm at MPavillion
Book your place

Once You Know 

A profound, personal exploration of what it means to wake up to the truth about climate change and its future impacts. Travelling the world on container ships to meet five of the world’s leading climate and energy experts, Once You Know asks ‘how can we live, love and dream in the face of what is coming?’   

Tuesday March 3rd 8:30pm at Cinema Nova
Book your place here.

Wild Things Documentary


Wild Things documentary follows a new generation of environmental activists that are mobilising against forces more powerful than themselves and saying: enough. Armed only with mobile phones, this growing army of eco warriors will do whatever it takes to save their futures from the ravages of climate change. From chaining themselves to coal trains, sitting high in the canopy of threatened rainforest or locking onto bulldozers, their non-violent tactics are designed to generate mass action with one finger tap.

Limited attendance Q & A screenings happening at Classic Cinema, Elsternwick on February 3rd at 6:30pm and Cinema Nova, Carlton on February 4th at 6:30pm.
Tickets to the Elsternwick screening here.
Tickets to the Carlton screening here.

In cinemas across Victoria on February 4th 2021. Get more information about the film and screenings 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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