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Talks, Papers and Podcasts

Feeling the Change: a recording of PSC's live event with Margaret Klein Salamon

Climactic podcast hosted by Bronwyn Gresham, February 2019

"Yes, we're facing catastrophic collapse. Yes it’s terrifying. But you don't have to be paralyzed by your fear, grief, and other painful feelings. You can use your pain to transform yourself, your friends, and your world." Margaret Klein Salamon, author of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to transform yourself with climate truth, and founding director of The Climate Mobilization in the US, leads a panel discussion that explores the emotional challenges of facing the climate emergency. You can listen here

From Despair to Action: Cultivating Hope in Times of Change

Bronwyn Gresham interviewed on Towards 2040, December 2019

It can be tough staying positive and resolute in the face of increasingly severe climate impacts and political inertia. In this final 2040 Conversation, Bronwyn discussed learning how to process the grief, rage and sadness that accompanies climate action and to build resilience and cultivate hope as things continue to change around us. You can listen here

Climate Anxiety

Carol Ride interviewed on ABC Radio National's All in the Mind, by Lynne Malcolm November 2019

Many of us are experiencing grief, anxiety and powerlessness about the future. We discuss the connection between climate change and mental health, and the strategies we need to maintain hope and take action.You can listen here

Emotions of Climate Breakdown

Carol Ride interviewed on Custodians of the Planet by Deniz Yildiz, November 2019

On this episode Carol discusses eco-anxiety and climate grief and followed by self-care tips to cope with them. You can listen here

Bronwyn Gresham interviews Holly Hammond 'Climate Community Care Bear'

Bronwyn Gresham and Holly Hammond: podcast interview with Climactic Podcast, March 2019

Burnout is endemic in the activist community, but maybe it doesn't have to be. Holly's efforts, and organising, have helped scores of members of the community overcome burnout, overwhelm, and emotional fatigue. With host Bronwyn, a self-care advocate in her own right, this conversation dives deep into how we need to look after ourselves, while looking out for others.You can listen here


Live Talk: Impact of experiencing bushfire in the era of climate change

Beth Hill and Charles Le Feuvre: recorded live by Climactic Podcast and released January 2019

The topic at hand is bushfire, and the psychological impact they have on those affected. You'll hear first-hand experiences, engagement with the difficulty of how and when to introduce climate change into the conversation, and some stark facts of the ground-truth of Australia's bushfire future. You can listen here


Finding Resilience in Vulnerability

Beth Hill: podcast interview with Climactic Podcast in November 2018

This chat with Beth explores the myriad ways we experience climate change and how people are feeling about it as the crisis deepens and the reality of vulnerability comes into focus for more people in their daily lives. Beth discusses the value of rethinking what we mean by vulnerability and the importance of showing up for deeper and more emotional conversations about climate change with each other as a way to sustain action on this issue.You can listen here


Carol Ride: psychologist, activist, believer in change

Carol Ride: podcast interview with Dumbo Feather August 2017

 In this podcast conversation, Carol talks about the importance of doing inner work and grieving our dying planet in order to act meaningfully on climate change. You can listen here


A chance conversation on climate change (PDF)

Carol Ride: Opinion piece published in Fairfax Regional newspapers March 2017

Recently I had a conversation with a fellow camper in a town in NE Victoria who said he ‘didn’t know about climate change’ and went on to tell me that climate change had always happened and that we are just caught in a natural cycle....More


Why don’t people get it? (PDF)

Carol Ride: Opinion piece published in Fairfax Regional newspapers November 2016

As a psychologist and activist I’m often asked how to explain to others that serious and urgent climate action is needed now. As in: Why don’t people get it?.…More


Climate Denial (PDF)

Carol Ride: Opinion piece published in Regional newspapers August 2016

When we hear distressing news our first response is often disbelief. Even good news can take a bit of time to sink in, as we saw with some Olympic gold medalists. But bad news can shake our trust and beliefs to the core. We all probably know people who respond to life-threatening health news with disbelief, and then remain unable or unwilling to comprehend the reality and the implications of the bad news…More


1.5 degrees warming: Too close for comfort (PDF)

Carol Ride: BASS COAST Groundswell February 2016

There is a tremendous amount of work ahead for those of us who understand the huge inadequacies of the so called ‘Paris agreement’ to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. This paper explores the challenges from a psychological perspective. ..More


Climate Change: Facing the facts or perverting them (PDF)

Carol Ride: Victorian Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists (VAPP), 2014.

The facts of climate science are discussed: they are alarming and demand an urgent response. Carbon dioxide levels are higher than at any time since the modern human evolved and impacts are already being experienced. There is a consensus among climate scientists about the cause, and much technical work has been offered as contributions to solutions. Yet the Australian governments’ response and that of international governments is perverse, as will be illustrated. The level of risk currently being tolerated in setting of global targets will be reflected upon considering the level of risk we normally tolerate in society. The reality of climate change is hard to accept and the prevalence of witch hunting and scapegoating instead, compels us to reflect on human nature... More


Moving Beyond the Couch towards Acceptance of Climate Change (PDF)

Rosemary Crettenden: Victorian Association of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapists (VAPP), 2014.

This paper explores some of the psychological factors which underlie the widespread denial of climate change in its many forms. While a majority of the population in Australia and many developed countries say they accept the science, there appears to be an inability to engage on an emotional level with the implications of what this actually means to us all. How can we use psychoanalytic ideas about anxiety and our common defences against it such as denial, splitting and projection, denigration, idealisation and omnipotence, and how they relate to climate change, to assist with our understanding of this phenomenon?

How might psychoanalytic understanding help us all do our part in promoting a shift in the community to a position where conversations about climate change become socially acceptable?...More


Mother Nature (PDF)

Charles Le Feuvre: Australian Psychological Society Psychoanalytically Oriented Psychology Interest Group (POPIG), 2014

The climate crisis may be seen as part of a broader crisis of our relationship to nature. To what extent are we able to accept our dependence on nature and our vital connection with it?  From a psychological perspective it relates to the conflict between the concerned, dependent aspect of ourselves versus the more narcissistic and omnipotent aspect, both in terms of our relationship to fellow humans and to our natural environment.... More


Group defensive processes evident in an organisation that disavows climate change science (PDF)

Benjamin Nisenbaum: Australian Psychological Society Psychoanalytically Oriented Psychology Interest Group (POPIG), 2014

This paper looks at some of the psychological processes which groups unwittingly use to harbour and support positions which refuse to acknowledge the scientific findings of climate change scientists. The psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion described in his findings of group studies a number of group unconscious defensive processes which he called 'basic assumptions' which members of groups make when they are in the process of avoiding a reality which they find unbearable. This paper looks at one organisation known for its dismissal of climate change science and identifies in its published material the derivatives of Bion's basic assumptions.... More


Is climate change the business of psychoanalysis? (Abridged) (PDF) 

Carol Ride: Australian Psychological Society Psychoanalytically Oriented Psychology Interest Group (POPIG), 2014

Facing and accepting reality are very much at the heart of psychoanalysis. In the “Wolf Man”, Freud wrote of the resistance to reality which included the reality of the very findings of psychoanalysis itself.  Parallels will be discussed between Freud’s understanding of this process, and the response of the community to news of climate change.   As well the international response will be considered as one of perversity as it becomes ‘acceptable’ to tolerate a temperature rise of 2 degrees warming and beyond. What do we need to help us face reality and respond on a scale commensurate with the problem?...More

Climate Change and Psyche: Conversations with and through Dreams (PDF)

Sally Gillespie:

This paper presents research inquiring into the psychological realities of those who are actively engaged with climate change issues, asking questions about how such people can be supported, and what can be learnt from understanding their psychological processes. Utilising a depth psychological approach, a co-operative research group of activists, researchers, policy makers and social communicators met in Sydney, Australia to share their daily experiences and concerns, and nightly dreams, articulating frustrations, griefs, hopes and fears in relation to global warming....More

He who has the most toys wins: The Effect of Death Anxiety on Environmental Behaviours (PDF)

Andrea Bunting:

This paper deals with another external trigger of death anxiety. It was motivated by the idea that messaging on environmental problems may elicit unconscious death anxieties, which foster counterproductive behaviours such as excessive consumption that exacerbate environmental degradation. Recent messaging on climate change and general environmental degradation certainly embody dire warnings. (See for example Hamilton, 2010.) Much messaging, however, focuses on collective rather than individual threats, and presents the threat as one primarily affecting future generations. Thus is it not clear if climate messaging could trigger death anxiety, and reportedly this has not yet been studied. Feinberg and Willer (2011), however, found evidence that dire climate change messages threaten just-world beliefs, resulting in people being less willing to counteract climate change....More

The Psychodynamics of Climate Change Denial: The Need for an Ecopsychoanalysis (PDF)

Charles Le Feuvre:

Within psychology and psychoanalysis there has been much denial of the psychological importance of the natural environment. Some psychoanalytic and other relevant views of the psychological significance of the natural environment will be discussed. It will be argued that there is a need for an ecopsychoanalysis, made more urgent by climate change... More