Archive for the ‘environmental disaster’ Category

Overcoming a Crisis

October 9, 2013

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Suddenly, or after months of agonizing foreshadowing: a loved one dies, financial ruin, environmental disaster, an unwanted sexual encounter, a bad judgment call or a major illness. A cherished and understood reality disappears.  What now? Unfortunately, no one answer or strategy works for all people. Recovering from a painful or tragic experience presents one of life’s most difficult challenges, charging every individual to craft his or her own way forward.  These five guidelines can help.

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Stand There

March 17, 2011

 

Since Ordinary Earth is a blog about how sustainable living practices can support better mental and environmental health some people have asked me about Japan: what I think about nuclear power, the impact of environmental catastrophes on mental health, and the probable emergence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Japan. Yikes! Those are all the wrong questions at an inappropriate time. Instead, as the buddhist saying goes, “Don’t just do something. Stand there.”  (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…)

Glenn Albrecht on Australian Floods

January 14, 2011

 

from Alagukanthavel.blogspot.com

In Brazil floods and mudslides resulting from heavy rains have claimed the lives of over 500 people, according to the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times.  It is the country’s worst natural disaster. In Brisbane, Australia news sources here, here, and  here report on the disastrous consequences of flood waters that peaked yesterday. Thens of thousands of people have lost their homes and businesses.  After the jump please find a guest post from colleague Glenn Albrecht, Professor of Sustainability at Murdoch University in Western Australia, and author of the term “solastalgia” – psychic or existential distress caused by environmental change.   (more…)

Bees

January 4, 2011

from insectidentification.org

The problem of bee colony collapse may be due to inbreeding and disease, and world populations are still in a free fall according to The Guardian.  While wild bees might be contracting viruses and spreading them to each other, according to research reported by treehugger, the reality of colony collapse disorder threatens the pollination and production of our food sources.  I’m wondering if bees are feeling stressed and therefore more vulnerable to disease, in the same way that humans can find themselves more susceptible to illness when under various types of psychic pressure.  I’m not attributing human-like consciousness to bees. I am however assuming bees have immunological systems that can be impacted by increased production of cortisol or other glutocorticoid hormones, or their equivalents in insects. Can environmental change cause the type of stress in bees that can weaken their immunological defenses?  Understanding what is happening to the bees is important to us for three reasons.  (more…)

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,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.

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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.

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Gulf Coast Oil Spill #4: Teens

May 25, 2010

If you are wondering just how bad things really are in the Gulf see this ABC news report. Philippe Cousteau (Jacque’s grandson) calls it a “nightmare.”

Transocean is holding a memorial today for those who died in the Deepwater Horizon in Jackson, Miss. .

People have died.  The US government is now calling it the worst oil spill ever.

While most adults seem to be taking this in stride, rationally calculating the ratio of a country’s need for oil to the spill’s impact, many kids feel defiant and betrayed.  This is their planet.  As they watch adult authority figures still unable to stop the flow of oil into the ocean, cynicism molds childhood laughter in a wary grimace, the dull mask of survival.  They believe that the world they know may be coming to an end, and sometimes, as one adolescent explained, “it is simpler to just harden up and ice over.”

Another young man said, “The subdued reaction to this crisis makes everything seem very false. As long as everyone around us denies that these things are happening, we tag along: the as-if generation in an as-if world.”

Three teenagers from New York City’s Upper West Side, however, tried something different.  This is their story and here is their petition.

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