Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Unresponsiveness to climate change: one reason

January 20, 2014

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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?

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The Negev: Desert People

April 11, 2010

After passing through a fertile agriculture zone,  one confronts the sand dunes of the Negev. In this dry, hot place, the evidence of human innovation is everywhere. With bold sweeps, the land rolls seemingly endlessly onward.  Yet, human communities live within this the expansive collage of sand, rock, and the majesty of the maktesh, exemplifying the link between the possibility of geography and that of the human spirit.   (more…)

People Don’t Always Act in their Best Interest

March 9, 2010

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Some people have been debating whether or not scientists should become climate change activists or if they should stick to the data. The concern is that the general population seems less worried about environmental issues.  Given our culture’s typical reliance on external solutions to problems, it doesn’t surprise me that journalists and pundits are looking to Obama, scientists, activists, politicians and economists to motivate change. As someone who helps people transform less than optimal behavioral problems into opportunities for accomplishment, lets begin with this fact:  People don’t always act in their own best interest.  Usually, what most motivates people to behave in a manner that affirms self and others is direct  emotional enlivenment that connects to an inner conviction or memory.  Let me provide an example from my work to illustrate how it might be possible to get people interested in climate change. (more…)

The Pope says Green Begins at Home

January 5, 2010

In his New Year’s address, the pope called on Catholics (and I assume the rest of us can participate) to consider protecting the environment a personal responsibility as well as a political event. The Pope said, “An objective shared by all, an indispensable condition for peace, is that of overseeing the earth’s natural resources with justice and wisdom.”

If we don’t protect our planet and treat it as the sacred entity that supports life, we risk our own lives, we threaten humanity.  Political decisions and legislation often brings about social changes. Copenhagen was a little more important than the Pope might wish to acknowledge. Yet, I also believe that change begins at home.  Most of us wonder, what might living differently entail? How would it help me? What follows are three things anyone can do that will help the environment and support psychological health.

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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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