Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category

Unresponsiveness to climate change: one reason

January 20, 2014

IMG00219-20121029-1016

The more news about the impending consequences of climate change, the more I wonder why individuals react so slowly to the reality of climate change.  Many behavioral scientists now attempt to address this issue.  In the UK an organization called Climate Psychology Alliance serves as a hub for analysts and other practitioners of therapy who try to understand the human relationship to climate change. Last summer, they published my “letter from the U.S.”   I’ve been wondering whether or not too much time spent on technology and indoors can lead to a flattening of consciousness. Maybe we need to re-dimensionalize human consciousness?

Advertisements

What Are We Doing?

June 22, 2011

(The first in a series about the convergence of psychological and environmental health)

News from the natural world continues to haunt and this report from ISPO (international program on the state of the ocean) warns of a mass extinction in our lifetime. And Al Gore is assailing the Obama administration for its failure to take stronger leadership on climate change. If you add the almost daily onslaught of devastating environmental news to the list of plastics, fuel and energy that the average family in a developed country can’t help but use, it is tempting to call out in anguish, “What are we doing?”  In the face of such compelling doom, most people disconnect, dissociate and deny. It is hard to change behavior in the midst of despair. Yet, while the government continues to jockey and pander in the race to win an upcoming election, a good deal of positive work is being done by psychologists, business leaders and educational institutions in the area of climate growth: changing behavior to more expansively support our ecosystems. So, “What are we doing?” is actually a good question. And the answer is plenty.  No matter who you are or what you do, there is a growing movement of others to whom you can attach yourself and start figuring out your own personal, familial and professional green strategy.

(more…)

The Changing Climate Changes Me

May 26, 2011

     Do human beings continue to adapt  to their environments? Are some of those changes psychological? Are humans experiencing subtle alterations in their emotional and cognitive organization in response to climate change? While we ponder these questions with regard to humans, we are noticing suh chnages in other mammals. Antarctic Penguins are being driven from their homes, according to the New York Times.  While those on the peninsula have suffered a catastrophic drop in population, those on Ross Island are making use of other environmental changes in order to adapt. The scientific study and tracking of climate change is based on a belief that all species develop specific adaptations to their environment. Are people, therefore, also already changing in small ways?  My tentative answer, based on case studies and field research conducted during 2009 and 2010, is that the human psyche is shifting in subtle ways to adapt to transforming ecosystems whether they be urban, suburban or rural. The same consumerist processes that are causing careless damage to the earth’s ecosystems have also become a part of people’s personalities.I have a chapter coming out in a forthcoming book edited by Nick Totton and Mary-Jayne Rust.  See a preview of some of my findings after the jump.

(more…)

Thoughts about Japan by Adrian Tait

March 14, 2011

 

I haven’t been able to organize my thinking around what is taking place in Japan.  I received, however, a thoughtful post from  a colleague, Adrian Tait (UKCP Registered Psychotherapist, Member: The Guild of Psychotherapists, Visiting Fellow: Centre for Psycho-Social Studies, University of the West of England) written to a newly forming alliance of clinicians looking at the relationship between climate change and human behavior.  He raises evocative questions and thoughts. See it here: (more…)

What’s Happening in Your Environment?

January 29, 2011

 

photo by Rolf Hicker at hickerphoto.com

Last 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 individual observations seemed small, their number and intensity impacted me. It seemed like people everywhere were noticing something. I am trying to broaden what transpired in that seminar by asking a wider audience of people to share what they know.

What is your environmental story? Is your physical environment important to you?  Have you noticed transformations in the physical landscapes where you grew up or now live? Have you observed any signs of climate change or environmental pollution?  I’m interested in people’s stories about their relationship to nature, to their ecosystem (even urban ones), and to the earth: what you see, think and feel, as well as what you remember. And if you don’t have a story but know people who do, please share this link. Feel free to back channel susanbodnarphd at gmail.com.

Summer 2010: Paralyzed

August 19, 2010

Picture: Getty Images / Julian Finney

This blog has gone dark since the end of June.  Why?  Every morning the heat rose trapping me in a vapor of thick intoxication. When the sun burned high in the sky the humidity coated my skin in a waxy sweat.  The news was no lighter. The every hour on the hour triviality emerging from the 24 hour news cycle bludgeoned my mind like high fever hallucinations. The summer that has seen the first effects of climate change has also been a summer of paralysis. (more…)

Psychology and Environment: Summary

June 29, 2010

photo from http//brammerfamily.com

For the past month I have been participating in an 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 with our environmental crisis?  How can psychology contribute to the discussions on climate change? See my final thoughts after the jump.

(more…)

Psychology,Psychoanalysis and the Environment

June 11, 2010

The IARPP environmental and psychology seminar continues into its second week. The panelists have been asked the following questions in five subject area.

Human Geography:

1)Are there unique psychological states of mind that correspond to different geographic localities?

2)What happens to the mind when the environmental localities begin to transform due to environmental corruption, climate change?

Cultural History:

The environment, nature, country, city, urban, wilderness are all terms that have had different psychological meanings in different places and in different historical periods. In what way is an understanding of these shifts and progressions relevant to an understanding of today’s current environmental problems?

Field Data:

Reports and observations of psychological reactions, responses and changes that are taking place in response to ongoing climate change issues or environmental disasters in parts of the world with which you are familiar.

Personhood:

1) As the world becomes more technological and human life is conceived as increasingly independent from their ecosystems how has that changed personhood?

2) How does this vary between cultures/ecosystems?

Defenses and Excesses:

1) Why are people participating in the destruction of the ecosystems they need in order to survive?

2) Why aren’t they more activated by climate change?

3) What are the psychological obstacles to change?

4) How are those psychological defenses embedded in economic and socio-political systems?

Sample responses after the jump.

(more…)

Psychology, Psychoanalysis and the Environment

June 4, 2010

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: (more…)

Psychoanalysis, Psychology and the Environment

May 28, 2010

Begininng Tuesday June 1 – Friday June 25th IARPP will be hosting an online seminar: Psychoanalysis, Psychology and the Environment: A Dialogue.  Given what has transpired in the Gulf Coast, this topic couldn’t be more timely.  The seminar ($10.00 fee) is open to all IARPP members ($135.00 membership fee).  During that time period this blog will report on what transpires during this seminar.

Description: As the recent Gulf oil spill makes clear, denial, dissociation, trauma, anxiety, and depression play a role in the climate change story.  And, as the limits of technology to deal with the oil spill become more apparent (and hence the idea that science will rescue us becomes more tendentious), an international conversation about psychoanalysis and the environment is timely. The goal of this seminar is to generate a dialogue among professionals who think about how the changing environment influences the mind and how the mind is responding to the ever increasing threat. The hope of this seminar is to develop both a network and a body of thinking that can anchor and connect the many people working on this issue. The panelist faculty (Glenn Albrecht, Susan Bodnar, Thomas Doherty, R.D. Hinshelwood, Paul Hoggett, Renee Lertzman, Rosemary Randall, Andrew Samuels, Nick Totton, Sally Weintrobe) will present some of their thoughts about this topic, using an eclectic reading list as a jumping off point. The seminar participants can share their own thinking, ask questions and respond to the readings. As we think and dialogue together we hope to consolidate some form of coherence out of the ideas generated by this dialogue. Among others, we will examine how concepts like solastalgia, embodiment/disembodiment, dissociation, object relations, repression of the unconscious, and concepts borrowed from human geographers can enhance the now international dialogue about mental and emotional processes and the environment.  Panelist bios after the jump.

(more…)


%d bloggers like this: