Psychology, Psychoanalysis and the Environment

The environmental seminar at IARPP launched this week with a mix of emotional response to the Gulf Oil Coast and some salient points regarding the interface between psychology, psychoanalysis and the environment. Many ventured to discuss the significance of environmental devastation on life as we know it. People’s lives are being affected now see here and here . Most expressed a passionate and challenging set of responses to the Gulf Coast oil spill ranging from sadness, fear, and apathy. Here are some salient topics unders discussion so far:

1)  NOT THE ONLY SPILL. There have been other severe oil spills, like in Nigeria, that have drawn less attention.  Why does environmental devastation seem worse when it happens to empowered nations? (from Rosemary Randall)

2)  CARING TOO MUCH TO ACT. Rather than feeling to little, is it possible that people feel too much about the environment? Is that why fear based communication about climate change doesn’t generate as much social change as would be desired? (from Renee Lertzman)

3) FALLACY OF NATURE VS. CIVILIZATION.   Do we get into trouble by creating a sharp divide between nature and civilization, and are these dichotomous categories helpful at this point? (from Andrew Samuels)

4) PEOPLE ALREADY PSYCHOLOGICALLY AFFECTED BY  CLIMATE CHANGE   From Mexico, to Canada, to Australia, to the US people report data from the field that suggests people are having strong, destabilizing and intense reactions to environmental change.  Yet, these feelings, reactions and concerns aren’t part of the public discourse.  Why are these feelings showing up in the privacy of the clinician’s office instead of out in the socio-political sphere?

5) IS THE WORLD OVER.   Is the world as we know it coming to an end?  Does this mean that we will be forced to invent a world without endless consumption and the illusion of an all powerful technology? (from Nick Totton)

6)  Glenn Albrecht on psychological organization of environmental devastation.

More updates on this fascinating seminar to come over the next three weeks.

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2 Responses to “Psychology, Psychoanalysis and the Environment”

  1. Psychology and Environment: Summary « Ordinary Earth ™ Says:

    […] on-line seminar about psychology and the environment. The seminar ended (see previous posts here, here, and here) with many questions.  Do psychologists have any special contributions that can help […]

  2. What’s Happening in Your Environment? « Ordinary Earth ™ Says:

    […] June I ran an international webseminar on psychology and the environment. During the first week, people sent in their observations of what was taking place in their localities. While many […]

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