Archive for the ‘global warming’ Category

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.

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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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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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Copenhagen

December 11, 2009

The news from Copenhagen is mixed.  Josh Marshall is downright gloomy, and concerned.  The talk is all politics and few seem to recognize that global warming is happening to people now in the small scale universe of the human mind.  Climate change is a psychological problem as much as it is geological and meteorological. My paper in Psychoanalytic Dialogues suggests that the same technical and mechanical innovations that are upsetting the balance of the earth are also disrupting the mind’s equilibrium.  The Earth is Faster Now conveys indigenous narratives about arctic how climate change has transformed a community and its people. While it might be easier to accept the fact that people far away in colder climates experience the psychological dimensions of warming, it is harder to grasp that  climate change has also already affected modern, western, urban, suburban and rural individuals, even in the United States.  Technological change (fast paced stimulation, constant stimulus gratification), carbon emissions, environmental contaminants, and decreased access to land and outdoor spaces have created children and adults who think, feel and understand reality differently than generations past.  The differences in thought structure may render them incapable of both perceiving global warming’s threats and acting to alter their course. These differences in thought structure may also promote behaviors that continue to promote the destruction of our ecosystem. Climate change is not only about politcs. It is about the everyday life of the human psyche.  As long as solutions continue to only consider matters of state and economy, I’m not sure anyone can inspire the changes in human consciousness necessary to confront this problem and take care of our struggling planet.


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