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  Environment, psychology and health news
A monthly update of environment, psychology and health news

November 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

More interesting news on the environment and psychology from a variety of sources.   Many thanks to Sam Keast for compiling this edition. 


Susie Burke

Public Interest, Environment and Disaster Response
twitter:  @BurkePsy.

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Good News Stories

Before the Flood - Documentary Movie

Climate change documentary starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Directed by Oscar-winning actor-documentarian Fisher Stevens (The Cove), produced by Martin Scorcese and scored by Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails).

But Before the Flood isn’t simply interested in showing how terrible everything is. It also does a fantastic job of highlighting solutions, both short-term and long-term. When asked if a president who doesn’t believe in climate change could undo the policies he’s already put in place, President Obama says the truth has a way of catching up with you (see full review here)

The movie is now availbale to watch free until early November.

Watch the movie

US Department of Energy highlights a positive story

It’s important to acknowledge the progress that’s being made, and retain a sense of hope and optimism that we can still avoid the worst climate consequences. This new DOE report highlights the fact that clean energy technology is quickly moving in the right direction, toward lower costs and higher deployment.

Read More

One Nation senator schooled on global warming

Australia's chief scientist Dr Alan Finkel explains climate change science to Malcolm Roberts MP at a Senate estimates hearing.

Watch Video

Solar panels surpass coal-fired electricity in previously ‘unthinkable’ feat

Solar panels generated more electricity than coal in the past six months in a historic year for getting energy from the sun in the UK, according to a new analysis.

Research by the Carbon Brief website found that solar generated nearly 7,000 gigawatt hours of electricity between April and September, about 10 per cent more than the 6,300GwH produced by coal during the same period.

Read more


Australians left critically vulnerable to climate change: health experts warn

Leading health experts say Australia’s health system is unprepared for the impacts of climate change, leaving communities unnecessarily exposed.

In a national first, the Climate and Health Alliance surveyed more than 130 peak health bodies, unions and health professionals – including doctors, nurses, midwives, public health practitioners and psychologists – to evaluate the sector’s preparedness for the impacts of climate change.

Read more


The Community Organising Guide is a unique resource for campaigners, community leaders and activist educators. It’s a collection of 39 process guides, 50 handouts 4 original case studies and 3 sample workshop schedules: everything you need to design and lead participatory workshops with activists, organisers and citizens. 

Available for download or hard copy here.

Naomi Klein delivers the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

Naomi will be participating in a series of exciting public events planned for November 6-12


The Politics of Climate

This survey from the Pew Research Centre extensively explores how peoples’ divergent views over climate issues tie with people’s views about climate scientists and their work. It outlines a number of differnces relating to poltical affiliation and climate change. Interstingly it also found that, "political differences are not the exclusive drivers of people’s views about climate issues. People’s level of concern about the issue also matters".

Read more

The Health Impacts Of Climate Change Are Huge And Very Real

A roundtable forum of public health leaders in Canberra hopes to change that, and to place health at the forefront of Australia's action on climate change.

The Climate and Health Alliance (CAHA), along with a number of healthcare and nursing groups, hosted the meeting of around 40 professionals in Parliament House. Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt, Shadow Health Minister, Catherine King, and Greens leader Richard Di Natale attended, hearing about how climate change is a "public health emergency", according to CAHA executive director Fiona Armstrong.

Read more

The Truth About Climate Change

A report from the Universal Ecological Fund (Fundación Ecológica Universal FEU-US) which rounds up the latest research and points very clearly to the fact that all key global warming thresholds will be reached much more rapidly than previously thought. And that to date very few countries have actually made action a prioirty 

Read more

The irony of the Anthropocene: People dominate a planet beyond our control

The Conversation - Nicholas C. Kawa

Assistant Professor of Anthropology, The Ohio State University

In many ways, the Anthropocene is rooted in a growing realization that we are in a state of ecological crisis that defies our control.

The question now is: What are we going to do about it? Leveraging technology “to tame nature” has never quite seemed to work out how we planned. Perhaps the Anthropocene’s greatest challenge will be forcing us to think beyond our strictly human needs and to understand those of the ecological systems in which we are embedded. It may just be that our lives depend upon it.

Read more

IPCC special report to scrutinise ‘feasibility’ of 1.5C climate goal

The head of the United Nation’s climate body has called for a thorough assessment of the feasibility of the international goal to limit warming to 1.5C. He told delegates at a meeting in Geneva, which is designed to flesh out the contents of a special report on 1.5C, that they bore a “great responsibility” in making sure it meets the expectations of the international climate community.

Read more

Carbon Countdown: How many years of current emissions would use up the IPCC’s carbon budgets for different levels of warming? Infographic by Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief.


Paul Gilding reflects on the scale and speed of the economic mobilisation of WWII. What can we draw on from this part of the wartime experience to inform a sound response to the climate emergency?


Climate of emotion: despair

This two part series examines the personal impact on those on the frontline of climate change. We ask scientists young and old, plus activists, philosophers and psychologists, 'how do you feel, about global warming?' Their responses will move you.

Listen here

Noam Chomsky, 'The Human Species Has Never Faced A Question Like This’

Noam Chomsky shares his thoughts on the 2016 U.S. presidential election and where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand on climate change, and why advertising has a tremendously distorting effect on our society.

Listen here


The 1 Million Women App To Inspire Climate Action

1m women

1 Million Women is creating an App to give millions of women around the world a plan on how to live a low-carbon life and transition to a zero-carbon lifestyle (which means living with little to no impact on the planet). The organisation set up a crowdfunding campaign and have already reached their target so watch this space. 

Find out more or make a pledge!

Climate Emergency Declaration


Call on the Australian Parliament to declare a climate emergency and initiate a society-wide mobilisation.

For more information or to sign the petition.


Online Course: Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

If you didn't have a chance to complete the course in the past or if you are just interested in continuing the conversation about climate science denial, we would love to see you in our new run of Denial101x. You can register for the course on the edX website by clicking this link.

Community-Based Social Marketing Workshops

For over three decades Dr. McKenzie-Mohr, an environmental psychologist, has been working to incorporate scientific knowledge on behaviour change into the design and delivery of community programs. He is the founder of community-based social marketing and the author of three books on the topic.

He has delivered workshops internationally for over 70,000 program managers and is coming back to Melbourne in March, 2017 to run a range of workshops. 

Register here

The Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDOHA) - Public Forum

The Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDOHA) held a public forum on climate change and the impact it has on health on August 11th.  

The forum brought together experts from multiple organisations to discuss how climate change policy could be part of health policy so equity health can be delivered to everyone.

The power point presentations can be found here


Gratuitous Links

Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide

Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide Online - is the first online sustainability guide for seafood consumers in Australia. It was developed in response to growing public concern about overfishing and its impact on our oceans and their wildlife. It is designed to help you make informed seafood choices and play a part in swelling the tide for sustainable seafood in Australia.

Apps are available for all smart phones, and there's also a FREE downloadable pocket guide

REDcycle - plastic recyling

A new recycling program called the REDcycle Program can now recycle many more plastic products than formerly. 

REDcycle  is a true product stewardship model.  Everyone involved in the life cycle of a product, including manufacturers, distributors and consumers have a responsibility for that product throughout its entire life cycle, including its end-of-life outcome.

Check out the large number of flexible plastic items that can now be recycled via participating supermarkets like Coles: 

  • Silver-lined chip & cracker packets
  • Confectionery bags
  • Fresh produce bags
  • Netting citrus bags
  • Polypropylene bags
  • Bubble wrap and large sheets of plastic that furniture comes wrapped in (cut into pieces the size of an A3 sheet of paper first)

For more information

The Bureau of Linguistical Reality

The Bureau of Linguistical Reality was established 2014 for the purpose of collecting, translating and creating a new vocabulary for the Anthropocene. The site playfully, yet sincerely, generates new words (and invites others to create new words) that reflect our relationship to our rapidly changing environment vis a vis climate change and other Anthropocenic events.


noun – The Gwilt

verb – to Gwilt including gwilts, gwilting, gwilted

Definition: To cause wilting in plants by not providing proper horticultural care out of concern for water consumption, especially during a time of drought. The feeling of regret and responsibility for its wilting. The accompanying compensatory feeling caused by watering said plants and experiencing further gwilt for not practicing water conservation. This is a form of a Double Bind.