How Psychology Can Help Fight Climate Change —And Climate Anxiety

Scientists and activists have deployed many tactics to help combat climate change: expanding technologies like wind and solar power, building better batteries to store that renewable energy, and protecting forests, all the while striving to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On Aug. 4, during the American Psychological Association’s Convention in Minneapolis, nearly a dozen experts turned the spotlight on another more surprising tool: psychology. “I used to begin my presentations by talking about temperature data and heat-trapping gasses, but now I begin most of my presentations in the same way: by asking people, ‘How do you feel about climate change?’” said Katharine Hayhoe, chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental organization, during a panel discussion. “I get the same words everywhere: anxious, worried, frustrated, concerned, devastated, overwhelmed, angry, hopeless, horrified, frightened, heartbroken, and afraid.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Simply simmering in those negative emotions won’t accomplish much: “If we don’t know what to do with them, that can cause us to withdraw, to freeze, to give up rather than take action,” Hayhoe says. Psychology can play a role in helping fight climate change by gleaning the most effective ways to change human behavior and encouraging individuals to take action. Extreme weather events also affect people’s mental health an...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized climate change healthscienceclimate Psychology Source Type: news