View this email in your browser

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

April 2015

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. 

Subscribing to the Newsletter

If you are new to this newsletter and would like to subscribe to receive monthly news, click here.


Some great new resources

Facing the Heat: stories of climate change conversations

Facing the heat

Psychology for a Safe Climate have just launched their second booklet - on conversations about climate change. This booklet takes the audience on a journey as stories are shared about learnings from climate change conversations. This is a wonderful resource!

Cost is $5 each and postage free. Order a copy now.

Personal climate stories

talking climate

A new blog covers some of the ‘personal climate stories’ that are increasingly available online. Video accounts and diaries about how climate impacts are affecting people around the world add a powerful ‘personal’ dimension to the analyses and predictions of scientists.

Coping with Climate Change Distress

Bronwyn Wauchope (from Psychology for a Safe Climate) and myself (Susie Burke from APS) gave a presentation last week at the ACF for their Climate Reality Leaders on how to cope with stress and distress of climate change. ACF has kindly made the recording of the 40 minute presentation available for people to download and listen to.  Click here to listen. 

How to construct narratives about climate impacts

Ever wondered how to construct narratives about climate impacts? You can read a blog on communicating about seemingly contradictory climate impacts such as floods and droughts, which is based on insights from the the ‘Drought Risk and You’ (DRY) project.

News from the Talking Climate database

talking climate

The Talking Climate database has been updated with this month’s most relevant and important new papers on climate change communication, including Stephen Zehr reviewing the ‘sociology of global climate change’, and Sander van der Linden and colleagues outlining the importance of understanding the scientific consensus as a ‘gateway’ climate change belief.

New book: Climatology vs Pseudoscience

book cover

By Dana Nuccitelli

The book covers a wide range of climate-related topics, starting with a history of some key discoveries in the field of climate science beginning nearly 200 years ago. Along the way it debunks some common climate myths, progressing forward in time to the 1970s, when scientists’ ability to model the global climate began to advance rapidly. It examines the accuracy of a variety of global warming projections, starting with J.S. Sawyer in 1972, through the recent IPCC reports, as well as some predictions by contrarians like Richard Lindzen.

Read more here.


Everybody needs a Climate Thing

Climate Thing

David Roberts, 6 Apr 2015, Grist

Climate groups are forever in search of the right “framing,” the communications strategy, the magical set of words, that will induce people to adopt climate as a top concern. But that assumes that climate’s “wicked” character, its resistance to all our most common cognitive and emotional tools, can be overcome with language. Maybe it can’t.

Everybody needs a Climate Thing, a close-by proxy through which they can express their climate concern in a way that has local effects and tangible rewards.

Read the full article here.

Reason and Rhetoric in Climate Communication

Dryzek and Lo, 2014, Environmental Politics

Rhetoric can facilitate movement beyond impasse on whether and how to confront climate change, enabling more effective public reasoning. Our evidence comes from a small deliberative group that contained climate-change deniers. We show how, in this setting, bridging rhetoric (capable of reaching those who do not share the speaker’s perspective) managed to bring deniers and others into accepting that particular greenhouse-gas mitigation measures were in the range of acceptable policy choices – even as deniers continued to dispute the existence of anthropogenic climate change. What we observed drives home the need for rhetorical bridges in broader public debates on climate change.

Read more here.

US pharmacy chain buys 153MW of wind and solar power

US pharmacy

Ian Kelly, 7 April 2015, RMI

Read about why and how a major health care provider chose renewable energy here.

British belief in climate change on the rise

By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 29 Jan 2015

Britons are more likely to agree the climate is changing than at any time in recent years, with nearly nine in 10 people saying climate change is happening and 84% attributing this somewhat or entirely to human activity, new research has found. Two-thirds say they are concerned by global warming. The floods caused 27% of the UK public to increase their belief that climate change was manmade.

This link should be used by scientists and politicians to reinforce their message that action on carbon emissions is vital, he added. “In my view they [scientists] should be a bit more decisive in saying extreme weather is one of the risks of climate change,” he said.

Kids Caught in Crossfire of Climate Education Battle

By Katherine Bagley, InsideClimate News 29 Jan 2015

Some states in the USA are in a long-running battle over the first set of national guidelines for science education to require that students be taught that climate change is a scientific fact and mainly caused by the burning of fossil fuels. The guidelines, known as the Next Generation Science Standards, were developed by science-education groups and state school systems, led by the National Research Council. They have been adopted by 13 states and the District of Columbia, but face resistance in several states from climate skeptics on school boards and in legislatures.

Read more here.

Beyond Storms and Droughts: A report on the psychological impact of climate change


Just in case you missed it, psychologists Susan Clayton and Christine Manning, authors of the 2014 APA report, drew attention to:

•the likely psychological impacts of climate change, from stress, anxiety and depression, to loss of community identity, to increases in violence and aggression
•the pathways through which these and other impacts on human well-being will arise
•why some communities will be hit harder than others
•how psychological impacts will interact with physical health.

Michele Wick, 1 Jul, 2014, Anthropocene Mind. Read the post here.

Clayton, S., Manning, C. M., & Hodge, C. (2014). Beyond storms & droughts: The psychological impacts of climate change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica. Available here.

The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers

Australian Academy of Science

This is an extensively revised update of a similar publication in 2010. Its stated purpose is to “provide an understanding based on our present scientific knowledge, of some key questions about climate change”.

It represents a determined attempt by scientists to be relevant to the everyday concerns of people and organisations, and to support – through the delivery of up-to-date scientific knowledge – those who want to take meaningful climate action.

Click here to access this remarkably useful publication.

Getting active

Aborginal Elders community petition opposing coal mine in Galilee Basin


Wangan and Jagalingou people, are the TRADITIONAL OWNERS of the land in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. 'If the Carmichael mine proceeds it will tear the heart out of our country. The scale of this mine means it would have devastating impacts on our native title, ancestral lands and waters, our totemic plants and animals, and our environmental and cultural heritage.'

Sign the petition is here

What does art have to do with climate change? Come and find out...


11 April – 17 May 2015 Melbourne

ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2015 is a festival of climate change related arts and ideas featuring curated exhibitions alongside a series of keynote lectures and public forums featuring local and international guests.

More info here:


Australian Psychological Society 50th Annual Conference


28 September - 2 October, Gold Coast

Registrations open mid April – see here for more details.

Human Health in the Face of Climate Change

14 -15 May 2015, Barcelona, Spain

This 2-day conference will highlight the latest research on climate change and its subsequent effects on human health. Organised by the New York Academy of Sciences, this conference will be held in CosmoCaixa Museum, Barcelona, Spain. Download the flyer. For more information and to register, click here.

Have to be quick for this one!

Cowspiracy: Watch it for $1 in April!


The film Cowspiracy is being screened online for $1 during Earth Week, starting on April 22nd.  This is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary exposing the most destructive industry facing the planet today.