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


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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Climate change is threatening mental health

A U.S. federal report that tapped psychologists’ expertise outlines the ways climate change affects us all.

The U.S. Global ChangeResearch Program, the report is the first time the federally mandated group has published an assessment solely focused on climate change and health. The report is notable for another reason, too: It contains a chapter devoted to mental health and well-being, a significant step forward for an assessment of this type, says lead author Daniel Dodgen, PhD, a clinical psychologist at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Read the chapter 'Mental Health and Wellbeing

Climate-related disasters raise conflict risk

Robert McSweeny in Carbon Brief, July 2016

A host of different factors can increase the risk of armed conflict breaking out in a country. Some examples picked out by previous research include poverty, weak governance, a history of conflict, income gaps between rich and poor, and disputes over natural resources.

A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that climate-related disasters should be added to this list. ("Armed-conflict risks enhanced by climate-related disasters in ethnically fractionalized countries" - by Schleussner et al., 2016).

This conclusion stems from a statistical analysis of armed conflicts and the economic damage caused by extreme weather events over the period 1980-2010.

Read Carbon Brief article

Leading the Public into Emergency Mode. A New Strategy for the Climate Movement

Margaret Klein Salamon

How we react to the climate crisis will shape centuries and millennia to come. Given the stakes, and the urgency of action, it is imperative that we strive to maximise the efficacy of our actions — from ourselves as individuals, from our nation, from the global community of nations, and from the organisations that are trying to avert this catastrophe.

This paper introduces the concept of “emergency mode” which is how individuals and groups function optimally during an existential or moral crisis — often achieving great feats through intensely focused motivation. The authors argue that the goal of the climate movement must be to lead the public out of “normal” mode and into emergency mode.

Read the paper by Margaret Klein Salamon, social anthropologist and clinical psycholgist. 


Syria and Climate Change

An enagaging digital report that uses interactive maps, video and infographics to explore a complex and controversial issue: did climate change play a role in sparking the crisis in Syria and the flow of refugees out of the country? and how did the media report the issue?

Report on the Global Conference on Health & Climate, July 2016

climate outreach

“Building Healthier Societies Through Implementation of the Paris Agreement”

This  conference brought together Ministers of Health and of Environment, senior Government officials, technical experts and civil society from around the world, to discuss proposals for how the health community can better mobilise, organise and work with others, to protect and promote health in response to climate change.

From the conference it was recommended that countries spend more on protecting health from risks linked to climate, such as extreme weather events and outbreaks of infectious disease and in cleaner energy sources, more sustainable transport systems and urban planning that also reduces major health risks.

The conference conclusions and action agenda outline three broad areas of action:

  1. Addressing health risks and opportunities 
  2. Ensuring support for health and climate action
  3. Measuring country progress

"Dear Tomorrow"

If people are aware of climate change, why do so many seem to ignore discussions about the future? And how do you engage people in the conversation? That's what "DearTomorrow", an online project founded in 2014, is tackling.

The idea came about after founder Trisha Shrum heard a speech by Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Figueres said she had a dream where children look at her and ask, "You knew about climate change. What did you do?"

Read the interview wtih co-founder Jill Kubit, and read the letters or write your own, here

One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts is in denial about the facts of climate change

John Cook, August 5, 2016, The Conversation

The scientific consensus on climate change has been endorsed by many scientific organisations all over the world, including the national science academies of 80 countries. So how does one dismiss a global scientific consensus built on a robust body of empirical evidence? This article explores the five characteristics of science denial.

Read the article. 

Report Shows Whopping $8.8 Trillion Climate Tab Being Left for Next Generation

Environmental campaigners NextGen Climate and public policy group Demos published a new study (The Price Tag of Being Young: Climate Change and Millennial's Economic Future) that attempts to quantify the true cost of not addressing climate change to the millennial generation and their children.

"The fact is," the report states, "unchecked climate change will impose heavy costs on millennials and subsequent generations, both directly in the form of reduced incomes and wealth, and indirectly through likely higher tax bills as extreme weather, rising sea levels, drought, heat-related health problems, and many other climate change-related problems take their toll on our society."

Read the report


A Climate for Change

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and associate professor of political science at Texas Tech University, where she is director of the Climate Science Center. She has worked at Texas Tech since 2005. She has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications and wrote the book A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions together with her husband, Andrew Farley. 

Hayhoe has said, "Climate change is here and now, and not in some distant time or place," adding that "The choices we're making today will have a significant impact on our future." She discusses her work on an episode of The Deconstructionists Podcast. 

Listen to podcast 

Climate Change: The Beginning

Humans have been altering the climate for a long time – but how long, exactly? This question is central to the Anthropocene debate. This podcast discusses research on the global impact of Industrial Era emissions (newly published in ‘Nature’!) with scientists Nerilie Abram and Kaustubh Thirumalai. He then takes a step back in Earth’s history to the early Agricultural Revolution, and climate scientist Bill Ruddiman’s early Anthropocene hypothesis.

Listen to podcast


Global Climate Change Week 2016: Final Call

This is a final reminder to consider taking part in Global Climate Change Week (GCCW) 2016 (Oct 10-16).

GCCW aims to encourage academic communities – including academics, students, and professional staff at universities – in all disciplines and countries to engage with each other, their communities, and policy makers on climate change.

If you would like to take part in GCCW 2016, please register here

If you would like to register an activity for GCCW 2016, please do so 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.

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



APS Congress 2016 - Melbourne, 13 – 16 SEPTEMBER 2016

Psychology and the Environment Sessions:

Tuesday 13th September, 2016

1:30-2:45pm - Forum: Bringing the whole environment back in to psychology - Joseph Reser, Don Hine, Navjot Bhullar, Ann Sanson, Jacquelyn Cranney, Susie Burke

Wendesday 14th September, 2016

2:45-3:30pm - Rapid Presentations:

Into the woods or a stroll in the park: How wilderness and urban nature differentially influence mood -Navjot Bhullar

Psychology as a nexus for global change: Can psychological sciences help save the reefs? Erik Simmons

Connection to nature predicts flourishingRachel Yerbury

3:45-4:45pm Presidents Address: Currents and Undercurrents in Psychology (after Joseph Jastrow, President, APA, 1900).

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

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.