Engage more effectively with the challenge of climate change with insights from psychology and The Australian Psychological Society.
Addressing climate change is an essential and urgent task if we are to have a chance of restoring a safe climate for humans and other species. Climate change is as much a psychological and social problem as it is an environmental or ecological mega-disaster, and the insights of psychologists and other social scientists into how people are responding to it, and about how to help people cope and adapt to its consequences, are critically important.
Psychological science can help people come to terms and cope with the profound implications of climate change, so that they can stay engaged with the problem, see where their own behaviour plays a part, and participate in speedy societal change to restore a safe climate.
Download The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook and ACTIVATE booklet PDFs from the box at the bottom of this page.
In this document, we put forward eight simple but important “best practice” insights from psychological science to help people come to terms and cope with the profound implications of climate change, so that they can stay engaged with the problem, see where their own behaviour plays a part, and participate in speedy societal change to restore a safe climate. The insights are drawn from extensive research across a range of areas that psychologists work in (see for example Clayton et al., 2017a; Gifford, 2014; Reser & Bradley, 2014; Swim et al., 2011; van der Linden, 2015).
These eight insights make the acronym A.C.T.I.V.A.T.E. and we hope they will ACTIVATE the public into more effectively engaging with the challenge of climate change!
Acknowledge feelings about climate change to yourself and others and learn ways of managing feelings so you can face and not avoid the reality of climate change.
Create social norms about protecting the environment so that people see that ‘everyone is doing it’ and ‘it’s normal to be green’.
Talk about climate change and break the collective silence so that more and more people see it as a risk that requires action
Inspire positive visions of a low-energy, sustainable, zero-carbon world so that people know what we are working towards and can identify steps to get there.
Value it – show people how their core values are often linked to other values that are about restoring a safe climate, and that caring about these issues actually reinforces their core values.
Act personally and collectively to contribute to climate change solutions and feel engaged and less despairing.
Time is now. Show people that climate change is here, now and for sure so they see it is timely and relevant to them and impacts the things that they care deeply about.
Engage with nature to restore your spirits and connect with the very places that you are trying to protect.
- Executive Summary
- Nature of the threat
- What factors influence how people assess the risk of climate change?
- Acknowledge feelings
- Create social norms
- Talk about it
- Inspire positive visions
- Value it – link values to climate change
- Act personally and collectively
- Time is now – show that it’s here, now and for sure
- Engage with nature
Download The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook and ACTIVATE booklet PDFs from the box below.