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

April 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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Upcoming events

Bill McKibben is in Australia

bill mckibben

Some of you may be familiar with Bill McKibben, founder of He is, in short, a climate legend, a powerful speaker, a tireless activist, and inspiration to millions.

Bill will be presenting two talks in Hobart and Sydney on the theme: the hottest year ever, and the hottest battle of our generation.

In Hobart, Bill will be the guest of the Bob Brown Foundation, Delivering the 6th Annual Hobart Oration at the University of Tasmania on Sun 17th April , 3pm.

Click here for a ticket to Bill’s Hobart talk.

In Sydney, 350 Australia will be hosting a talk and Q&A with Bill at Paddington Town Hall on Thurs 21st April,  6.30pm.

Click here for ticket to Bill’s Sydney talk.


How psychology can help us solve climate change


Nadira Faber, February 26, The Conversation

Big decisions could be facilitated by many psychological processes that focus on global identity, long-term gain rather than short-term loss, intergroup competition and reputation, rewards, shared norms, providing sufficient and clear information, and instilling trust and transparency.

Read the article

How do people cope with feelings about climate change so that they stay engaged and take action?

Susie Burke, 2 March 2016

The latest blog on Joe Duggan's 'Is this how you feel?' website is about how people cope with feelings about climate change so that they stay engaged and take action.

How people feel about climate change is enormously important because it plays a large part in what happens next – in what people do to cope with these feelings.

Psychologists who study coping techniques for distress often categorise them into two broad classes: emotion focussed coping which involves trying to reduce the negative emotional responses; and problem-focussed coping which aims at changing the problem which is giving rise to the distress. 

Framing climate risk: We need more than a few magic words

cars flood

Adam Corner, 24 March 2016, Climate Home

Finding ways of communicating that resonate with people’s values is a crucial first step in broadening public engagement.

There may be no ‘magic words’ – but there are definitely better and worse ways of starting a conversation. Framing matters, because starting a conversation with someone on terms they are comfortable with is the first step to building – and sustaining – their engagement.

Read the full article

How to inoculate people against Donald Trump's fact bending claims


John Cook & Margaret Crane, 23 March 2016, The Conversation

Psychologists are quite familiar with the fact that die-hard supporters of an idea aren’t swayed by contrary evidence, which can backfire and strengthen preexisting attitudes. Indeed, trying to change the minds of headstrong Trump supporters may be largely futile.

Communicating to the larger majority who are still open-minded to facts is more effective. Psychological research on science denial provides a model for how to reduce Trump’s influence on the general populace: inoculation theory.

Read the full article

Grief and Carbon Reductionism


Charles Eisenstein, March 2016

No one is ever “persuaded” to make major changes in their life’s commitments, unless that persuasion is accompanied by an experience that impacts them on a physical and emotional level.

As long as grief is not fully experienced, then normal still seems normal. Even if one is intellectually persuaded of the reality and gravity of climate change, the felt reality is still, “It isn’t real,” or “It’s gonna be fine.”

Click here for the full article

Health Promotion Journal of Australia: Virtual Issue - Climate Change and Health Promotion

March 2016



Building community resilience to climate change through public health planning

Health promotion interventions to address climate change using a primary health care approach: a literature review

Schools, climate change and health promotion: a vital alliance

It's here! Are we ready? Five case studies of health promotion practices that address climate change from within Victorian health care settings

Let’s not forget climate change in the food insecurity conversation: why the homeless are most vulnerable

The potential role of Health Impact Assessment in tackling the complexity of climate change adaptation for health

Core health promotion competencies in Australia: are they compatible with climate change action?

Networked resilience in rural Australia — a role for health promotion in regional responses to climate change

Exploring Australian health promotion and environmental sustainability initiatives

To download any of these articles, click hereVirtual Issue - Climate Change and Health Promotion

WHO Public Health & Environment e-News

Issue 82, March 2016

This Issue brings you the latest on:

  • An estimated 12.6 million deaths each year attributable to unhealthy environments  
  • Burning opportunity: clean household energy for health, sustainable development and well-being of women and children 
  • Measuring and monitoring action on the social determinants of health 
  • Better water, better jobs – World Water Day 2016
  • Health in All Policies training course in the Western Pacific Region 
  • Five Years Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis

Download the newsletter

The Silent Killer: Climate Change and the Health Impacts of Extreme Heat

Elizabeth Hanna and Lesley Hughes, 2 March 2016, Climate Council

This report found that although many states have taken significant steps to upgrade their heat and health warning systems since the deadly heatwaves of 2009, strategies vary considerably from state to state and focus primarily on reactive rather than long-term planning.


1. Climate change is a serious health threat for many Australians.

2. As extreme heat events worsen, the risk of adverse human health impacts is increasing.

3. Heatwaves can put intense pressure on health services.

4. While the health sector has made significant steps in improving resilience to heatwave events, more needs to be done.

5. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and deeply is the best way to protect Australians from worsening extreme heat events.

Full report

Three key actions are needed to more effectively address the health and health sector impacts of heatwaves:

1. PREVENT AND PREPARE: tackle the health impacts of heat extremes by:

2. RESPOND: a whole of government response is required, including all levels of government across all states and regions. This response should include:

3. EDUCATE: We need to build awareness about heatwave risks, and develop effective warnings for the public, health and community services, and the Australian workforce.

Statement from the Australian Summit on Extreme Heat and Health

Australia’s 10 biggest climate polluters


February 2016, ACF

A report from ACF identifies Australia’s biggest polluters. These are the companies climate policies must target to reduce Australia's emissions and reduce the threats to health.

This report shows ten companies are responsible for almost 1/3 of Australia's emissions, and produce more emissions than Switzerland, Ireland, and Denmark combined:

  1. AGL Energy
  2. EnergyAustralia
  3. GDF SUEZ Australian Energy
  4. Rio Tinto
  5. Origin Energy
  6. Stanwell Corporation
  7. Alcoa Australia Holdings
  8. CS Energy
  9. Glencore Holdings
  10. Woodside Petroleum

Full report

Age, gender, race? Climate scepticism is predominantly party political

head in the sand

Tom Arup, 23 February 2016, The Age

It appears the adage that climate change sceptics are typically conservative white men is only partly true, with a new study finding the political party you support to be a much stronger marker of where you line-up on global warming than gender, age and race.

Read the full article

Useful Resources

New Guide & Masterclass: Communicating effectively with the centre-right about household energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies

centre right

Climate Outreach have developed a new guide, which is the first practical tool of its kind and builds on our previous pioneering work in this area. With a list of communication do’s and don'ts, and an exploration of four narrative frameworks, it provides advice and guidance for navigating this important and complex area.

An interactive workshop will also be held in London in May for communications specialists, based on this guide and our previous work. It is designed for campaigners, advocates and policymakers wishing to explore how to communicate with people of centre-right values about climate change and energy more effectively.

Click here for more information about the Guide or Masterclass

Making Sense of Climtate Denial 101

John Cook and colleagues are still building resources for their Denial 101 free online MOOC.  From the Denial team....

We have set up a Google Group Misconception based learning - Denial101x forum. If you are an educator that would like to share successes, frustrations, or questions about teaching we would love for you to join this group.

We’re also still adding new videos and information through the Denial101x Facebook, Twitter accounts.

All the best, The Denial101x team

Climate Change and the Culture of Uncare

sally weintrobe

Resonance FM, January 2016

Consultant psychotherapist Dr David Morgan talks to Sally Weintrobe, psychoanalyst and editor of Engaging with Climate Change.

Access audio here

Fact, myth, fallacy

Here's an excellent resource from the Denial 101 team, which outlines common climate facts, myths, and the fallacies behind the myths.  This is an incredibly useful resource.


Health Professionals give 'close down coal' letter to Victorian Govt

"As health professionals, we write to request that the Victorian Government’s forthcoming Renewable Energy Action Plan include steps to start retiring Victoria’s four coal-fired power stations and ensure a just and healthy transition away from coal for the communities adjacent to them, and for those economically dependent on them.''

An open letter from 300 health professionals was presented on April 5th to the Victorian Premier via the Parliamentary Secretary for Health.


IFA 13th Global Conference: Disasters in an Ageing World


Tuesday 21 - Thursday 23 June 2016, Queensland

Older persons have years of knowledge, skills and wisdom, which are invaluable assets to reduce disaster risk. How can we ensure the voice of older people is heard in planning for and recovery from disasters?

Further information on the IFA 13th Global Conference