The report found that “In the eight years since the Working Group I contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report in 2013, global emissions have continued to rise, temperatures have skyrocketed, and the world has witnessed a terrifying run of extreme weather disasters, from Australia’s 2019-20 summer to the extraordinary heatwaves, fires and floods that have shaken the northern hemisphere this year. In that time our understanding of climate change, and in particular its link to extreme weather, has improved considerably, as has our picture of likely future changes. The need for deep and rapid cuts to emissions is even clearer than before”. (Climate Council, 2021)
“So, how can we best hear and respond to this alarm, caring for ourselves and others while mustering motivation for desperately needed action?”
Researcher Dr Sally Gillespie and psychiatrist psychotherapist Dr Charles Le Feuvre (members of Psychology for a Safe Climate), provide this advice:
For many, the report is alarming and distressing. Feeling some level of fear and grief in this context is normal. If we are not, we are in denial.
“The research of climate psychology tells us that rather than suppress our distress, we need to recognise it as a healthy response to the climate crisis.”
It is important to acknowledge our feelings about the climate crisis, and that they show how much we care about our world, loved ones, lives and communities.
Take this opportunity to discuss with others how you are feeling, as well as how to take action.
“Climate distress is difficult, if not impossible, to bear alone. Initiating a conversation with colleagues, friends or family members about how you feel in response to the latest climate news lets everyone validate their feelings.”
• It’s important to be kind to yourself when you hear this latest news.
• Try not to take in more than you can digest, taking breaks when you need to.
• Now is a good time to join a climate action or support group or even think about creating one.
• And if you need more support, seek help from a climate-aware GP or counsellor who can recognise and validate your feelings of climate distress.
Published by the Jimboomba Times, August 9 2021. Read the full article.
More articles in response to the IPCC report interviewing Psychology for a Safe Climate members:
Carol Ride – How to Cope with Climate Distress
Dr. Sally Gillespie – Eco-Anxiety is real – Here’s how to cope with it
Dr. Sally Gillespie – Climate Crisis and Consciousness (audio interview)
Dr Charles Le Feuvre – ‘We can’t let this happen’: How ordinary people handle climate distress
There are also lots of great resources available on our website to help you with your climate anxiety and distress:
Check out our podcasts page
Or our publications