BLOG | Psychologies of Climate Change

Posted on 22/11/2009


Natasha Mitchell’s All in the Mind blog (Radio National) presents  a post on the psychology of climate change. The impact of climate change on social and environmental psychologies needs to be considered at the nexus of climate change and social change to allay fear and panic particularly given the divisive public discussion and political response. Speaking for myself, I have quite simply had my hopes quashed about Copenhagen and, with each one of these moments, it seems like the future is slipping away.  Nevertheless, I continue to consider other possibilities outside the political sphere, just as others continue to develop renewal energy technologies and other innovations and evocations.

For me, it means designing methods of engagement, planning and deliberation that are empowering, listening and responsive, and through which change can be charted as an exploration of options and ideas. Mitchell quotes climate scientist Mike Hulme who states “rather than placing ourselves in a fight against climate change. We need a more constructive and imaginative engagement with the idea of climate change” – that statement indicates to me a need to engage artists, designers, planners, communicators and architects in this process of negotiation and imagination, operating in that imagineering space in ways that not only encourage communities to embrace change, but also empowers them to demand change through effective decision and policy making.

A few years ago, as a member of the State Government Ministerial Forum, I devised a proposal for creativity and science partnerships to encourage creative and critical thinking about climate change – the presentation that accompanied a more detailed proposal is available online. The proposal aimed to include a program of art-science and art-industry collaboration as part of the State’s agenda for climate change, with specific reference to the Climate Change Centre of Excellence. While the proposal was well received by communities and political representatives alike, the proposal was not progressed beyond an initial discussion.

Mitchell has posted an interview with Mike Hulme and Jonathan Marshall who has investigated the impacts of climate change from a psychoanalystical perspective.

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