We need to talk more about climate change. We all know this, even if we don’t do it. And a small spate of recent pieces (including one here) provide us some useful and encouraging how-to tips.
Still, for many, such conversations aren’t much fun to think about. Indeed, the topic of climate change is quite likely to upset us, to make us feel scared, sad, guilty, confused, overwhelmed, helpless, anxious. These feelings push us into the many paralyzing maneuvers psychologists associate with self-protective denial.
Which is why psychologist Rosemary Randall’s essay “The Id and the Eco” (Aeon, 2012) is still well worth reading. This short, insightful piece offers a clear view of why and how our emotions lead us to avoid facing this subject. And it suggests that we begin to move on by recognizing and naming our emotions, then talking about them with compassion and without judgment.
For more on this subject, see this very informative 2016 blog piece by Australian psychologist Susie Burke, who describes emotion-focused and problem-focused techniques for coping with such distress and staying engaged.
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. Use the Twitter hashtag #ICYMIclimate to flag works you think warrant attention, or send an e-mail to ICYMI@yaleclimateconnections.org any time. Let us hear from you.