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Introducing Climate Psychology: facing the climate crisis
Introducing Climate Psychology: facing the climate crisis

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4 Course summary

This course began by looking historically at how and why we find ourselves in a climate and ecological crisis. You learned about the Anthropocene, the Great Acceleration and the development of the Western culture of consumerism and separation from nature. You were introduced to ecopsychology and the contrasting view of our embeddedness in nature that is shared by indigenous cultures. You then explored the emotional impact of facing the reality of the climate crisis and learned about the individual and social defences we use to avoid difficult emotions. You learned to look psycho-socially and politically at greenwashing, denialism and doomism. The final week was about finding ways to live meaningfully and responsibly with the reality of the climate and ecological crisis.

You are left with the concluding paragraph from the book Climate Psychology: A Matter of Life and Death by Hollway et al. (2022):

We hope this book represents a particular ethic of engagement with climate change. First, find the courage to face the difficult truths it presents to us. Second, stay with the trouble that this creates for us. Third, engender frameworks of care that enable us to do this together. If we can do this, if we can develop this kind of culture in the networks, organisations and movements to which we belong, then our love for this world can only grow stronger, and if we get the love right then everything else follows. Finding our love for the world is not a substitute for searching out solutions; the pressure remains (‘but what are we going to DO’). Nonetheless, to find and retain our love for the world – our care, compassion – is a crucial foundation for whatever actions follow.

(Hollway et al., 2022, p. 129)