As more climate change impacts are felt and people become increasingly aware of the challenging future we face it is understandable that many people are experiencing anxiety, grief and a myriad of other feelings. The following resources are provided to increase understanding of the emotional and psychological impacts of climate change and to promote the range of coping strategies available.
Click on the headings under Articles and Podcasts to access each resource.
Your body, mind and spirit, just like those around you, has basic needs in this climate crisis.
Needs for a sense of safety, to be soothed, calmed, and be anchored.
Needs to feel motivated, capable, participatory, and productive.
Needs for connection and togetherness.
Keep learning about your mind, growing beneficial resources, and see how this can inform your engagement with climate change.
– Psychology for a Safe Climate
Coping with Climate Change Distress
This booklet, drawing on evidence based insights from psychology, offers strategies to cope with the stress of climate change. Includes behavioural, relational, cognitive and emotional coping strategies.
Handbook of Climate Psychology
A comprehensive guide from the Climate Psychology Alliance (UK). Includes sections on grief, loss, coping strategies and radical hope.
The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook
Engage more effectively with the challenge of climate change with insights from psychology and The Australian Psychological Society.
Staying Engaged in the Climate and Bushfire Crisis
A collection of psychological ideas and resources from Psychology for a Safe Climate in response to the 2020 Australian Bushfires.
Emotional Health and Our Response to a Changing Climate
Psychologist Bronwyn Gresham talks about the Mental Health impacts of climate change. She outlines the value of compassion as a support for people responding effectively to climate change.
Healing Our Climate Grief
This article from Sustaining All Life shares perspectives on healing climate grief, including the importance of noticing, experiencing and releasing feelings and accessing peer support.
Our Hearts in Transition
A book review of The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins with emphasis on its insights around the emotional & psychological impact of climate change.
Whilst much of the narrative around the climate emergency refers to catastrophe and apocalypse, we are finding… that by facing into these difficult realities, listening to our hearts and staying curious, transformational emotional change is possible.
– Climate Psychology Alliance
Catastrophe or Transformation? Climate psychology podcasts
These podcasts from the Climate Psychology Alliance (UK) explore the range of emotional responses to the climate and biodiversity crisis through conversations between climate psychologists and friends.
Climactic Podcasts on Climate Grief and Resilience
A selection of Climactic podcast shows that focus on the emotional and psychological impacts of climate change and the strategies people are using to respond to them.
ChangeMaker Chat with Margaret Salamon
Margaret Klein Salamon is a psychoanalyst who has transitioned into a climate change warrior. She talks about the psychological features of the climate disaster, her own journey, and how we can understand emergency and fear to build a powerful movement for change.
If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear.
– Joanna Macy
- Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy – Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
- Facing the Climate Emergency: A Radical Self-Help Guide to Become the Hero Humanity Needs – Margaret Klein Salamon
- Climate Crisis and Consciousness: Re-imagining Our World and Ourselves – Sally Gillespie
- Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities – Rebecca Solnit
- Radical Hope: Ethics in the Face of Cultural Devastation – Jonathan Lear
- Climate Psychology Reading List
- Good Grief Network Reading List
Media coverage and blog posts
Solastalgia: The pain or distress caused by the loss or lack of solace and the sense of desolation connected to the present state of one’s home and territory. It is the lived experience of negative environmental change. It is the homesickness you have when you are still at home.
– Glenn Albrecht
- A-Z of Climate Anxiety: how to avoid meltdown – Emma Beddington, the Guardian
- ‘Overwhelming and terrifying’: the rise of climate anxiety – Matthew Taylor and Jessica Murray, the Guardian
- Ecological grief: I mourn the loss of nature – it saved me from addiction, Lucy Jones, the Guardian
- The climate interviews, James Button, The Monthly
- How to deal when things fall apart – interview with Glenn Albrecht who invented the term solastalgia
- Developing a Mindful Approach to Earth Justice Work – John Bell
- The case for “conditional optimism” on climate change – David Roberts
- Six ways to overcome feelings of Eco Anxiety – Karen Larbi
- Creating Circles of Active Hope – Alice Howard-Vyse
We must acknowledge and understand the traumatic colonial practices of the past 240 years. The traumatic legacy of dispossession, assimilation and racism lives within us, and continues to impact our communities… The bushfire crisis adds another layer of trauma and complexity to our people and can trigger past traumas. Not only as individuals, but as a collective community.
– Sue-Anne Hunter
Articles related to the impact of the 2019/2020 summer Australian bushfires on First Nations people:
- Triggering trauma: the bushfire crisis, Sue-Anne Hunter, @IndigenousX
- For First Nations people the bushfires bring a particular grief, burning what makes us who we are – Lorena Allam, the Guardian
- Indigenous Australians’ Grief Over Bushfires Deepens The Trauma Felt Since Colonisation – Alicia Vrajlal, HuffPost Australia
Networks and Organisations
Each of us possesses tremendous wisdom within that we have been conditioned to ignore. By appealing to our brains with research and resources, we open the door for more heart-centered work. We provide a gateway to practice opening and trusting our hearts, to transcend fear and re-establish connections. This creates a foundation of resilience and strength to show up outwardly as activists and advocates for the things we love and care about.
– Good Grief Network
- Psychology for a Safe Climate
- Good Grief Network
- Climate Awakening: Climate Emotions Conversations
- Work That Reconnects Network
- Climate Resilience Network
- Climate Wellbeing Network
- Climate Psychology Alliance (UK)
- Yoga for Ecological Grief – online course
- Active Hope – online course
Do you have a resource to add? Contact the Commons Librarians. Stay tuned for further resources related to setting up support groups. Subscribe to the Commons newsletter for updates.
There’s also plenty more resources on sustaining activism, avoiding burnout, and building healthy culture in the Wellbeing topic area.