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Climate Crisis Digest

Becoming Lost, Climate Change and Collective Trauma, On Sitting in Uncertainty…these are just a few of the recent themes of our regular Climate Crisis Digest.

The Digest is available on the first of every month here on our website and also goes out monthly to CPA members and those subscribed to our mailing list. If you would like to subscribe to receive this Digest in your inbox every month use the 'subscribe' option on the footer of this website.

The name Digest reflects the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion's insight that experience needs to be digested in order to be thinkable, especially when it is hard to bear (hence CPA's approach to difficult truths). The Digest style is not academic or polemical, more journalistic and exploratory in tone. That requires reflection by the author, to invite reflection in readers. Reflection here means inquiring into our emotional experience so as to more fully engage with the meaning of what is written. The theme can be anything, so long as it is treated using a climate psychology lens.

Writing a Digest (around a thousand words) is open to all CPA members and help from the editor is freely available at whatever level of experience the writer brings. If you are a member and interested in contributing, have a look through some past editions and contact the editor, Wendy Hollway .

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Climate Crisis Digest Nov 2022: Ecology as the new class war

As the recent Conservative, neo-liberal UK government dug in around the mantra ‘growth, growth, growth’, as it attempted to mobilise supporters by conjuring up an enemy called the anti-growth coalition, I see the desperate dying throes of fossil fuel interests. Not dead yet, still deadly. 

Climate Crisis Digest Oct 2022: Pathways in a broken world

This autumn, it is clearer than ever that we are in a political, economic and social mess, as well as an ecological one. The UK is in its own predicament, but it’s hard to think of a country that isn’t. And some kind of breakdown is inevitable, since even the best of political parties and governments are not willing to face fully into the societal transformation that would be needed to address the climate and ecological crisis.

Climate Crisis Digest Aug 2022: Climate Change & Thirst

In May this year, Shelot Masithi was invited to give one of the two keynote speeches at the virtual conference organised jointly by Climate Psychology Alliance and the Association for Psychosocial Studies. Her title was 'Climate Change and Thirst’.

Climate Crisis Digest July 2022: Feeling the Real, Finding the Words

A couple of weeks ago, something real bubbled up through the CPA Google Forum and I found myself caught up in the emotion of the exchanges. A link had been posted to an article in the Guardian newspaper with the title “Suicides indicate wave of ‘doomerism’ over escalating climate crisis.”

Climate Crisis Digest June 2022: A glance from the shadows- a Russian psychologist’s reflection on isolation in an abusive country

Imagine a world where there’s no truth. Anything anyone says can be misinterpreted, doubted, and punished. Everything you’d relied on has perished, the future is completely uncertain, and you’re isolated and hated by the rest of the world. This is how I feel since February 24th, 2022. I live in Moscow...

Climate Crisis Digest May 2022: What does healthy climate agency look like?

Agency in climate psychology

My involvement in Climate Psychology Alliance stems from a wish to understand, with others, how humans can empower and motivate ourselves and each other to stop the destruction that we are part of. 

Climate Crisis Digest April 2022: Worlds Apart, Worlds Colliding

Part 1. Ukraine

Four weeks after the invasion started, a “Digest” about the war in Ukraine feels like an oxymoron. The terrible attrition of people and places grinds on; atrocities against the Ukrainian people mount daily.

Climate Crisis Digest March 2022: Staying with the Trouble

"Our own life has to be our message"  --  Thich Nhat Hanh1

I live alone in rural Maine, on native Wabanaki land. My two kids are in their early twenties, alive and well in other states. I can't imagine how their lives will engage this climate emergency.

Climate Crisis Digest Feb 2022: Covid, vaccination and climate anxiety

Unconscious displacement on a global scale

I cannot get out of my head the thought that the global North's panic stricken response to Covid-19 is also a displacement of climate anxiety. This displacement would be working at the level of the societal unconscious; perhaps the most global societal unconscious displacement humanity has ever spawned.

CPA Newsletter Jan 2022- Climate Crisis Digest: Becoming Lost

‘In order to find your way, you must become lost.’ 

Bayo Akomolafe remembers this advice from his ancestors. He insists that we need ‘to fall down to the earth and listen’. 

Becoming lost, as we enter the new year, how do I learn to listen to the earth?1

CPA Newsletter Dec 2021- Climate Crisis Digest: Working for fossil-fuel companies

At the recently-concluded COP 26 talks in Glasgow, there were so many representatives of fossil-fuel companies that together they constituted a larger delegation than any nation.1 What is it like to work for one of these companies, to keep doing business as usual in the knowledge of the terrible damage that it is doing to us all?

CPA Newsletter Nov 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: Serious play: experiments and connections

At the beginning of 2021, I chose a sequence of three books on the climate crisis. In a sense, I curated some reading to experiment on myself, because I wanted to find out how different kinds of books worked on me.

CPA Newsletter Oct 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: Is This the Best We Can Do? Some reflections a month ahead of COP26

Peter Carter, IPCC expert reviewer and Director of the Climate Emergency Institute, in an interview with Nick Breeze at COP 25, Madrid, argued that the COP process was set up to fail.

CPA Newsletter Sep 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: Climate Change & Collective Trauma

In a recent article on climate change, fragmentation and collective trauma (2021)1, I suggested that in order to understand the ground from which ‘the culture of uncare and exceptionalism’ (as Sally Weintrobe describes it2) emerged, it may be helpful to look through a trauma lens.

CPA Newsletter July 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: On Sitting in Uncertainty

As I joined the Climate Psychology Alliance recently, I thought it would be interesting for this month’s Climate Digest to bring the perspective of someone new to the CPA and new to trying to set up conversation spaces such as Climate Cafés.

CPA Newsletter June 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: Emerging Reciprocity

During the pandemic, I acquired three Khaki Campbell ducklings, a domesticated duck bred for laying.

CPA Newsletter May 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: Decolonising Loss within Climate Psychology

The car bumps and shakes along the winding dirt road that has been degraded by logging trucks. 

CPA Newsletter April 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: Decolonising Ourselves

A small group of those racialised white in CPA have been meeting to explore racialisation, decolonisation and climate psychology. The group was one part of a response to the need for anti-racism practice within CPA. It followed discussions on the CPA google group, calls for those racialised white to do their own work, and the general increase in awareness about internalised and systemic racism following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.

CPA Newsletter March 2021 - Climate Crisis Digest: Water Shortage

When Shelot Masithi, a Psychology student at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, contacted CPA, she had an interest in climate psychology’s approach to water scarcity. Kate Evans was struck by what Shelot called the ‘daunting question’ posed on the CPA discussion forum: “What will be the state of health psychology in a society with a deepening climate change, food shortage, and degrading land?”

CPA Newsletter Feb 2021- Climate Crisis Digest: Conspirituality

As anxiety about ecological crisis and the coronavirus spreads, we might expect defensive psychological formations to take hold on a large scale.

CPA Newsletter December 2020: Climate Crisis Digest - Identifying Social Collapse?

Has it not already started, the social collapse predicted to be part of climate derangement?

CPA Newsletter November 2020 - Climate Crisis Digest: Petromasculinity.

“Proud Boys”
An American all-male neo-fascist militia group called “Proud Boys” came to international attention recently when Trump gave it explicit public support.

CPA Newsletter October 2020 - Climate Crisis Digest: Meeting the future that's arrived.

How can CPA adapt its purposes to the rapid and profound changes that are now impacting the climate and climate psychology, from unprecedented hostile weather to unbridled governments manipulating through lies, from a losing fight to vanquish Covid-19 to record levels of mental distress? Does it mean a shift of focus within the scope and topics CPA has developed over the years; does it mean a radical new approach?

CPA Newsletter September 2020 - Climate Crisis Digest: Air Pollution.

Right to breathe clean air
The politics of air pollution needs a climate psychology of breathing. Breathing safe air is not just a civil right, it is an existential necessity.

CPA Newsletter July 2020 - Climate Crisis Digest: Racial Justice and Climate Justice.

Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter has given a huge hopeful impetus to resistance.

CPA Newsletter June 2020 - Climate Crisis Digest: How many people can the Earth support?

Overpopulation
How many people can the earth support? Dr. Christopher Tucker raises this question after pointing out that between 1970 and 2017, human population more than doubled, going from 3.7 billion to 7.5 billion. Tucker’s book title provides his answer: A Planet of Three Billion.

CPA Newsletter May 2020: Climate Crisis Digest -The Human Predicament of Pandemic

What, collectively, do we do with the sickening knowledge that air pollution takes more lives the world over than this virus?

CPA Newsletter April 2020: Climate Crisis Digest - Nature Reappears

Dilemmas

How does ‘nature’ figure in the way we meet the threat of Covid-19, this virus that is upsetting human life across the world?

CPA Newsletter March 2020: Climate Crisis Digest - A tale of two tipping points

By the time this letter goes out it may have become clear whether a tipping point has occurred in the global spread of the coronavirus.

February 2020: Climate Crisis Digest - Davos and Daily Mail Narratives

Asked about climate change at Davos, President Trump said that he was all for the environment.

CPA newsletter January 2020. Climate Crisis Digest - The Abysmal Failure of COP25.

December was a dismal month,

CPA newsletter December 2019. Climate Crisis Digest - The New Climate War

‘This is the new climate war’ says Professor Michael Mann, 

CPA newsletter November 2019. Climate Crisis Digest - Extinction October Rebellion, Gaian Change

Amongst those who face the truth of global heating, ecological destruction and species extinction, there is widespread consensus around one radical new starting point:

CPA Newsletter October 2019: Climate Crisis Digest - A New Epoch in Facing Difficult Truths

Good news that over 250 media outlets have pledged to focus on climate crisis...

CPA Newsletter Sept 2019: Making Connections (and welcome to the New Zealand Climate in Mind Initiative)

...recognising and understanding the disconnections which maintain our sleepwalk into the disasters of ecocide and climate disruption ...climate psychologists are the forensic psychiatrists of the climate movement

CPA Newsletter July 2019: Future in the balance

The Anthropocene is the most important descriptor of our epoch. Our understanding of this and climate psychology’s response are both evolving constantly. The basics, so eloquently explained in Clive Hamilton’s Defiant Earth, are increasingly self-evident: we humans are now an Earth system in our own right, operating invasively and destructively, with limited and reducing choice as to outcome.

CPA Newsletter June 2019: You can't declare an emergency and then act like nothing has happened

 Some resistant cultural complexes are themed in this newsletter:

CPA Newsletter May 2019: Polly Higgins

We are devastated to have lost International Earth lawyer, friend and colleague Polly Higgins who died on Easter Sunday 2019 after a short illness.

CPA Newsletter April 2019: Conflict and Taboo

...a fatal exploitation of the earth’s generosity ...

CPA Newsletter March 2019: We are school striking because we have done our homework

"typically clear and feisty" ...

CPA Newsletter February 2019: A Psyche the Size of the Earth

What of greater-than-me awareness – the recognition that we are connected to and utterly dependent on the land, wood, air, water and energy balance of our planet?

CPA Newsletter December 2018 - What difference can I make?

...struck by fatalism? ...

CPA Newsletter November 2018 - a Climate Minds dialogue

This months newsletter has a different feel to it. At its heart is a 'Climate Minds' dialogue between therapist and poet, Steve Thorp, and writer and coach, Julia Macintosh.

CPA Newsletter Oct 2018 - Choice, Tragedy and Sacrifice

Irish author Colm Toibin, in his 2017 novel House of Names, weaves a dark and disturbing tale,  

CPA Newsletter Sept 2018 - Facing the Truth, BBC and Balance

CPA members challenge BBC - "The Cat is out of the Bag"  

CPA Newsletter July 2018 - What Kind of Hero?

How long have we got?

CPA Newsletter June 2018 - Psychology of The Possible

Agreed Facts, Differing Conclusions

CPA Newsletter May 2018 - In The Face Of Self-Destruction

Most of us would probably agree that good is more likely to come out of our work if we are operating out of appreciation for the gifts of individual life, of the natural world and yes, of civilisation.

CPA Newsletter April 2018 - Farewell To Sudan

Many hearts will have been cast down by the death last week of the last male Northern White rhino.

CPA Newsletter March 2018 - Critical Conversations

Fertile and Sterile Conversations was the theme of CPA’s 2013 Members Day.

CPA Newsletter February 2018 - The Unthinkable Anthropocene

Does a Rupture in Earth’s History Count as News?

CPA Newsletter December 2017

“O Wedding-Guest! This soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea:

CPA Newsletter November 2017

Thirty years ago I wandered in a dazed state around Hampstead Heath London aghast at the devastation from what was called the Great Storm.

CPA Newsletter October 2017 - A Change of Order

This month, for the first time, CPA’s own news comes first, though there is no shortage of global climate events posing psychological questions.

CPA Newsletter September 2017 - Pain and Wonder

Nature Under Threat

CPA Newsletter July 2017 - Not Blown Away

An Effective Counter Response in Desparate Times

CPA Newsletter June 2017 - Mad To Be Normal

RD Laing and Doughnut Economics

CPA Newsletter May 2017 - The Perfect Storm

Just how bad are things looking

CPA Newsletter April 2017 - Doorway To The Underworld

The evocative title of this image was a gift

CPA Newsletter March 2017 - Absurdity Reigns

The clown is an archetype of deception

CPA Newsletter February 2017 - Shoot The Messenger

In post-truth politics, lies become “alternative facts”

CPA Newsletter December 2016 - The Sting

2016 will be remembered by progressives and environmentalists for the nasty sting in its tail.

CPA Newsletter November 2016 - If The Oceans Die, We Die

Humanity fails to grasp that the ocean ecosystem is a planetary life support system.

CPA Newsletter October 2016 - The Power of Wilful Ignorance Cannot be Overstated

This incisive claim was made in a short e-talk about industrial farming.

CPA Newsletter September 2016

Could Plenty Ever be Enough?

Naomi McCavitt’s disturbing picture “Land o’ Plenty” evokes so much, with its combination of fantastic portrait, landscape and still life.

CPA Newsletter July 2016

Murder and Forgiveness

The sickening murder of English MP Jo Cox on 16th June sent a shock wave through the country.

CPA Newsletter June 2016

The Climate Emergency Deepens

What will it take in the way of climate disaster to mobilise determined action, to create a human tipping point?

CPA Newsletter May 2016

Houston we have a problem

CPA Newsletter April 2016

Broken records and CPA events 2016

CPA Newsletter March 2016

Imprisonment is this month’s headline theme because it has been proposed or threatened, virtually simultaneously, on both sides of the climate struggle.

CPA Newsletter - February 2016

 Optimism or Realism?

CPA Newsletter January 2016

New Year Issue: “Apres moi le deluge

Nature has obliged with post-Paris deluges in the British Isles, the Missouri region and a large tract of South America.

CPA Newsletter December 2015

How can we help to sustain legitimate and constructive hope, in the face of either delusional expectations or resignation and despair.

CPA Newsletter November 2015

The Road to Paris

For a while in 2009, as Copenhagen approached, the denial industry seemed to go very quiet. Have they given up? some of us wondered. It was  the lull before the storm of “climategate” which helped to ensure that COP 15 ended in disarray.

CPA Newsletter October 2015

Diverse Themes

The refugee / migrant crisis is a huge and complex subject not least in the tension between these two terms.

CPA Newsletter August - September 2015

“There’s such a thing as too late”

CPA Newsletter May 2015

As Britain comes to terms with the surprise general election result, many of us whose attention is focused on climate change will reflect on its virtual absence as an election issue.

CPA Newsletter April 2015

This 1st April CPA newsletter must include a thought on the place of the Fool. Honoured in royal tradition as a challenger of dull rationality, the fool enjoyed some immunity from the penalties of irreverence.

CPA Newsletter March 2015

“We’re drunk in charge of the world”

This, from Lord Stern, was one of the memorable utterances at the RSA event: “Climate Change Question Time”.

CPA Newsletter February 2015

A remarkable article was published on 25th January by Dahr Jamail in Truthout, title: “Mourning our Planet: Climate Scientists Share Their Grieving Process”.

CPA Newsletter January 2015

Hope continues to be a headline theme.

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We are a diverse community of therapeutic practitioners, thinkers, researchers, artists and others who believe that attending to the psychology and emotions of the climate and ecological crisis is at the heart of our work.

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