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

July 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

More interesting news on the environment and psychology from a variety of sources.    


Susie Burke and Harriet Radermacher

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

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PUBLIC FORUM: Climate Change and the Social Determinants of Health


Thursday 11 August 2016, Canberra

TIME: 9:30am - 12:30pm (followed by a light lunch and members meeting)

WHERE: Federal Golf Club, Gowrie Drive, Red Hill Canberra ACT 2603

SPEAKERS: Fiona Armstrong (Climate and Health Alliance), Dr Devin Bowles (CAPHIA) and Professor Steve Hatfield-Dods (CSIRO)

Cost: FREE

RSVP: CLICK HERE to register before COB Monday 1 August 2016

The Social Determinants of Health Alliance (SDOHA) invites you to our public forum on climate change and the impact it has on health. When considering health, the climate needs to be considered - unfortunately the Government does not make this connection and Australia’s health suffers. This forum brings together experts from multiple organisations to discuss how climate change policy can be part of health policy so equity health can be delivered to everyone.

Visit the SDOHA website for more information.

WORKSHOP: Allowing ourselves to grieve about climate change


A workshop for climate campaigners to give acknowledgement and expression to their climate grief in a nurturing environment.

In partnership with Psychology for a Safe Climate, Environment Victoria and Australia invite you to join a workshop  with us where you can share your feelings about climate impacts in a safe space, be heard, connect with others feeling similarly and explore opportunities for supporting one another through these challenging times.  There will be no cost.

WHEN: 1:30 - 5pm Saturday 13th August

WHERE: CERES Van Ray Centre, Stewart St, East Brunswick

RSVP: Charlie Wood


SoundMinds Radio - Seeing is believing

Climate change is more than changing weather patterns, sea level rises and catastrophic events.  Dr Joseph Reser points out it is the psychological impacts on individuals of this ongoing stressor and how they will manage their psychological responses and lifestyle options that are the most important factors, yet which are receiving little attention in policy decisions and planning. Are you psychologically prepared?

To listen to the podcast go to:


Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change: Five “Best Practice” Insights From Psychological Science

Sander van der Linden, Edward Maibach, and Anthony Leiserowitz

This article advances five simple but important “best practice” insights from psychological science that can help governments improve public policymaking about climate change. Instead of a future, distant, global, nonpersonal, and analytical risk that is often framed as an overt loss for society, we argue that policymakers should

(a) emphasize climate change as a present, local, and personal risk;

(b) facilitate more affective and experiential engagement;

(c) leverage relevant social group norms;

(d) frame policy solutions in terms of what can be gained from immediate action; and

(e) appeal to intrinsically valued long-term environmental goals and outcomes.

Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2015, Vol. 10(6) 758–763

Read the full article

A brief history of fossil-fuelled climate denial


John Cook, June 21, 2016, The Conversation

The fossil fuel industry has played a hugely damaging role in promoting misinformation about climate change. But without the broader picture including the role of political ideology, one can build an incomplete picture of climate science denial, leading to potentially counterproductive responses.

People who fear the solutions to climate change, such as increased regulation of industry, are more likely to deny that there is a problem in the first place – what psychologists call “motivated disbelief”.

Psychological research tells us that ideologically driven confirmation bias (misinformation) is almost indistinguishable from intentional deception (disinformation).

Read the article

97% global warming consensus paper surpasses half a million downloads

Posted on 23 June 2016 by dana1981, Skeptical Science

The 97% study and other consensus research has been attacked and misrepresented, despite being downloaded over half a million times. This has led to a follow-up paper which produced similar findings.

While only 11% of Americans realize the expert consensus is above 90%, the percentage who realize that global warming is happening and human-caused is on the rise over the past several years.

Read the article

Blog: What Brexit teaches us about climate change communications

climate outreach

George Marshall, June 29, 2016, Climate Outreach

  1. The first lesson confirms that effective communication creates narratives around people's values and identity. 
  2. A second lesson re-iterates the importance of peer-to-peer communications for complex technical issues. 
  3. A third lesson is that public silence around an issue can be broken by effective communication focused around a 'moment’. 

Climate change is another long term issue that struggles to demand public attention or political priority. Forcing a debate is always a high risk strategy but maybe we require a similar moment of broad-based public scrutiny to break the climate silence and obtain the mandate for a truly effective response to climate change.

Read the blog

The War on Science will change how you see the world

Every so often a book comes along that changes the way you view the world. The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why It Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Otto is one of those rare books. If you care about attacks on climate science and the rise of authoritarianism, if you care about biased media coverage or shake-your-head political tomfoolery, this book is for you.

Review posted on 1 July 2016 by John Abraham, Skeptical Science

Moving house can make you healthier, happier – and greener, too


Thomas & Poortinga, 13 May 2016

It is extremely difficult to change how people travel to work. One reason why it is so difficult for people to give up their cars is that the act of commuting is largely habitual. Repeating behaviours in the same context over and over again makes us associate the behaviour with that context. A change in context may therefore help to disrupt a habit.

A study shows that major life changes, such as moving home, offer an excellent opportunity for people to break their old habits and reconsider the choices they make.

Read the article 

Will the health dangers of climate change get people to care? The science says: maybe


Matthew Nisbet, 14 July 2016, The Conversation

In comparison to messages that defined climate change in terms of either the environment or national security, talking about climate change as a public health problem generated greater feelings of hope among subjects. Research suggests that fostering a sense of hope, specifically a belief that actions to combat climate change will be successful, is likely to promote greater public involvement and participation on the issue.

In all, these results suggest that efforts to employ novel framing strategies on climate change that involve an emphasis on public health will require sustained, well-resourced, and highly coordinated activities in which such messages are repeated and emphasized by a diversity of trusted messengers and opinion leaders.

Read the full article

Scientists are figuring out the keys to convincing people about global warming

Dana 1981, 4 May 2016, Skeptical Science

Social scientists have identified several key pieces of knowledge that might convince people – even conservatives – about the need to tackle global warming.

  • Shi’s team showed that when people realize humans are causing global warming, they’re more likely to be concerned about the problem.
  • Social scientists at UC Berkeley have shown that when people understand how the greenhouse effect works, they’re more likely to accept human-caused global warming, across the political spectrum.
  • Research by teams led by Lewandowsky has shown that when people are aware of the 90–100% expert consensus on human-caused global warming, they’re more likely to accept that reality, and to support climate policies. Meanwhile, only 16% of Americans, including just 4% of Republicans, realize the expert consensus is so high.

Read the full article

Climate Change and Faith


A series of articles on climate change and faith:

Guide: Faith and Climate Change – Talking with People of 5 Major Faiths - 16 February 2016, Climate Outreach

Dalai Lama, Archbishop Tutu sign interfaith climate statement - 18 April 2016, Climate Home

Action on climate change needs our hearts and heads: uniting our faith and science - 22 April 2016, AGU Blogosphere

The climate change generation gap


Dana Nuccitelli, 21 April 2016

Climate denial caters to a small and dwindling population of old, white, conservative, American men. As with global temperatures, American acceptance of and concern about human-caused climate change is currently at record levels, and is certain to keep rising in the long-term.

Read the full article


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.


INFOGRAPHIC: Health and Climate


Many public health interventions can deliver benefits for health as well as help to act to prevent further climate change. This infographic, designed by British Medical Journal in collaboration with the new UK Health Alliance on Climate Change, provides examples of these health and climate co-benefits.

Download for your own use

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 30 March 2016)

Handy resources when facing a firehose of falsehoods

myth busting

3 May 2016, Posted by BaerbelW , jg, Skeptical Science

Three options to fairly quickly dispense with a firehose of falsehoods:

Option #1 - The Fact-Myth-Fallacy overview

Option #2 - Referring to the fixed numbers for the rebuttals

Option #3 - Play a round of "Myth Bingo"!

Access the resources

Climate Change – Seeing is Believing

Michael Schubert, SoundMinds Radio

Climate change is more than changing weather patterns, sea level rises, catastrophic events. Dr Joseph Reser points out it is the impact on individuals and how they will manage the effects or their lives that is the one most important factor that is receiving little attention in policy decisions and planning.  Are you psychologically prepared?

“The ongoing and profound threat of climate change is here and now, affecting quality of life and environment, mental health and well-being, and how people feel about and respond to environmental issues. There is a crucial need to be effectively documenting, and monitoring these psychological impacts as well as taking action to address them.” Joseph Reser

Listen to the podcast (14.50 mins)

Civil society creating powerful, shared stories


Public Interest Research Centre (PIRC) have recently embarked on a new and exciting project, Open Framing.

TheProject seeks to give civil society powerful, participatory tools to change cultural stories and achieve lasting, transformational social change.

Find out more


3rd Annual International Resilience Summit 2016


November 2-3, 2016, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Illinois

Attendees are converging in Chicago from across the globe to address the urgent need, methods, metrics, and benefits of building personal and psychosocial resilience. Working across traditional “silos”, the Resilience Summit addresses climate change while spanning such diverse areas as community resilience, mental health, security, education, human services, climate change, disaster response, and military/Veteran resilience.

To register and for more information