By Climate Psychology Alliance
Listen to the UK Climate Psychology Alliance Podcast Series which features thoughtful conversations between climate psychologists and friends about the climate and biodiversity crisis.
We’ve called the series Catastrophe or Transformation as each podcast explores the range of emotional responses to the climate and biodiversity crisis, which we are discovering and exploring within ourselves and with others.
Whilst much of the narrative around the climate emergency refers to catastrophe and apocalypse, we are finding within the Climate Psychology Alliance that by facing into these difficult realities, listening to our hearts and staying curious, transformational emotional change is possible.
Climate Crisis Conversations, ‘Catastrophe or Transformation’, is a podcast series hosted by Verity Sharp for the Climate Psychology Alliance and produced by Parity Audio.
From Anxiety to Agency: stepping up, rather than shutting down, in the face of the climate change crisis
Clover Hogan is a 20-year-old climate activist, researcher on eco-anxiety, and the founder of Force of Nature. In this podcast, she talks with Caroline Hickman about how depth psychology transformed her approach to her activism; from creating space for despair and optimism, to understanding how narratives in society define our ability to inspire change.
Clover and Caroline reflect on how the military-industrial complex continues to influence our approach to climate solutions; as well as navigating anthropocentrism and the saviour complex within the sustainability movement. They discuss what comes next for students who have been banner-blazing in the street; what the world could look like if we pursue transformation over tokenism; and why, to get there, our perception of power must change as we deconstruct the stories we tell ourselves about the world, and our role in it.
Two Extinction Rebellion activists reflect with Wendy Hollway of CPA on their experiences with Extinction Rebellion from 2018 through wellbeing roles in the Uprisings in London and active engagement in XR locally.They speak of deep experiences and learnings from focusing on growing the group’s regenerative culture. Structures that build awareness and support emotional processing, so necessary for engaging with the reality of climate and ecological crises, have the potential to bring transformation for XR and ultimately wider society.
What is climate psychology? A way of listening
Climate psychology gives us a method of listening to peoples’ experience of climate change which can inform how we talk to friends, family and colleagues, how counsellors/therapists could listen to peoples’ worries and how researchers could investigate it. Paul Hoggett in conversation with Verity Sharp and Caroline Hickman.
Paul, with Adrian Tait founded the Climate Psychology Alliance in 2012. In this podcast he draws upon his experience of being a social scientist and psychotherapist to explore the nature of ‘deep listening’. In the process the conversation also examines some of the essential themes of climate psychology such as the nature of denial and disavowal, the connections between thinking, feeling and acting, and how to “stay with” and manage the disturbing feelings, conflicts and dilemmas provoked by awareness of the climate crisis.
Eco-Anxiety, Eco-despair, Eco-depression, Eco-grief? or maybe… Eco-empathy?
There is a lot of interest at the moment about eco-anxiety, perhaps understandable in the light of increasing (weekly/daily) bad news about the state of the world and the continuing inaction from figures in positions of power to ‘lead’ on taking the necessary actions to start to communicate honestly with the wider public, and start to put in place the changes needed to deal with what we are facing.
The school strikers, Fridays 4 Future and Extinction Rebellion are all leading on changing the story about this in the public awareness. Verity Sharp and Caroline Hickman try to wrap their heads and hearts around this for the second time following their first discussion in BBC Radio 4’s “Costing The Earth” in April 2019.
What’s under the surface of the attacks on school strikers?
Many of us were inspired to see children marching in the Youth Climate Strike on 20th September, including in war-torn areas where they were putting their lives at risk in order to speak out. It’s hard to avoid the thought that the children are the adults, whilst the grown-ups are like children. On the other side, taking attention away from the children, are the nay-sayers. Could it be that those adults who criticise cannot process their own feelings and have to get rid of the protesting children, sending them “back to school”? Verity Sharp and Caroline Hickman discuss this disturbing phenomenon.
Can ancient myths help transform the narratives that led to the climate change crisis?
A conversation about “myth” and its relevance to the climate emergency between Jo Blake, who works across the disciplines of storytelling, theatre and dance and Sarah Deco, art therapist, group analyst, story teller, with a long connection to the Climate Psychology Alliance. How can working with the nuanced nature of myth and story be emotionally nourishing for us on a planet where destructive binary narratives of endless growth and separation from nature hold sway?
Climate Change: Finding the silver lining, part 1
It is easy to forget that the majority of Environmental destruction has taken place within just one human lifetime… So imagine: what might be achieved in the next? In this episode, part one, Martha describes her work in Bath Youth Climate Alliance and discusses the value of ‘Imperfect Environmentalism’.
Overwhelm, grief and terror are the first emotions which come to mind when young Environmentalist Martha Stringer discusses the future. And yet, through discussion with psychotherapist Caroline Hickman, she recognises the huge potential for unity, imagination and shared meaning which the Climate Crisis brings.
Climate Change: Finding the silver lining, part 2
In part two of their conversation Martha and Caroline explore the concept of generational accountability and the power of shared guilt.
Deep questioning – navigating youth in a time of climate change
Asking existential questions has always been a defining part of what it is to be young, but how does it feel to be a young adult at this time of Climate breakdown? Sophia Thornton describes her experiences as a 19 year old activist looking for answers and fighting for a future, in conversation with Caroline Hickman (CPA, Psychotherapist).
The power of art in helping us to ‘see’ climate change
Art has a huge role to play in helping us connect emotionally and imaginally with the enormity of climate change. Marine artist Sonia Shomalzadeh talks to Caroline Hickman about the power and vision of her ephemeral art, including life size sand drawings of whales and charcoal sharks for fashion shows.
Also see Drawings made to last less than a day | Sonia Shomalzadeh | TEDxBathUniversity
Talking with children about climate change
How far is it appropriate to engage children and young people in talking about the frightening situation we are in with regards to the climate and the biodiversity crisis? Psychotherapist Caroline Hickman has worked with children for many years and, in conversation with Verity Sharp, shares her experience about ways we can think about addressing this all-important question.
Ecocide and the life of Polly Higgins
The Earth needs a good lawyer, and it found one in the late Polly Higgins. An environmental lawyer, she fought for the word ‘ecocide’ to be recognized in a court of law against those who are knowingly contributing to the breakdown of our planet’s life support systems. Her inspirational character, intellectual and spiritual life and remarkable achievements are celebrated here by her good friend Tree Staunton of Bath Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling in conversation with psychotherapist Caroline Hickman of the University of Bath and Verity Sharp.
Climate change, grief and hope
As the reality of the climate and biodiversity crises unfolds, our mental health is increasingly at risk. If we are to avoid falling into isolation and despair, we need to talk about how we’re feeling. Here to open this podcast series psychotherapist Caroline Hickman of University of Bath discusses with Verity Sharp why we find it so hard to face climate change, how we can process grief and how falling apart is a vital part of the solution.