The Climate Psychologist

Climate Change: It’s Personal. Want to be Involved in an Upcoming Facebook Group?

Climate change is generally discussed from an objective, scientific, fact-based angle. But what of our subjective, psychological experience of climate change? What about the emotions it stirs, the relationships it alters, and the hopes and fears it inspires?

To help explore these questions, I am excited to announce the (upcoming) Facebook group, “Climate Change: It’s Personal.”

I am working on this project with Daria Kurkjy, who you may know from comments on this blog, or other involvement in the climate change community. The group we envision will be a place were people can share wide-ranging thoughts and feelings about climate change in an atmosphere of emotional safety and respect.

Talking about the personal side of climate change takes courage. All emotions will be welcomed on this page, ranging from feeling terrified because climate change is the near-term apocalypse, to anger because it is a scam cooked up by the government. The only rule is to respect the expressions of others. We hope it will be fascinating to hear from people with different experiences!

Because we view emotional safety as paramount, but have limited time that we are able to dedicate to moderating the group, we are currently looking for people to work with us as “Safety Moderators.”   The job of safety moderators will be to make sure everyone in the group is feeling respected and safe. If someone is aggressive or disrespectful, they can have a chance to apologize. If they cannot compose themselves and maintain a respectful attitude, the safety moderator will have to take them out of the group. Let me know if you are interested in becoming a safety moderator!  (Once we have some moderator coverage, I will invite everyone to come join the discussion!)

It is my hope to bring psychotherapists into the group at regular, posted hours, in order to facilitate conversations, comment on relevant themes, and be available to ask questions. Eventually, I would like to organize therapists to be available 24/7 to discuss people’s feelings about the climate crisis, a kind of “Planetary Suicide Hotline.” This process will take some time, but stay tuned!

This project is inspired by two other groups that deserve mentioning. One is the Facebook group Global Warming Fact of the Day—a lively, well-informed discussion that has been exciting and educational for me, and a great opportunity for meeting new climate hawks! The other is the group Peak Oil Blues, which Daria has been involved with, and found helpful in exploring and processing the feelings that come with our changing world. Peak Oil Blues utilizes therapists in their process, so hopefully I can learn from them regarding how to integrate utilize therapists in a helpful way!

13 thoughts on “Climate Change: It’s Personal. Want to be Involved in an Upcoming Facebook Group?

  1. steve reed

    Build it or leverage existing groups, or both . If you have not already, take a look at theories of humor.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theories_of_humor I like the incongruity theory,,, and read into important role of humor in social mvmts, relate to how humor shows the incongruity between the official lie, and the suppressed reality. Not sure why the physical response of laugh occurs.

  2. Peter Garin

    I’d say the entire planet was overmedicated, we’ve been hooked on fossil fuel, and escapist thoughts. We, for the most part have been in denial and now need to come to terms with what our actions have brought. Unfortunately, getting everyone to read “On Death and Dieing”, by Kuler-Ross is not the most realistic of solutions. I suspect you wont find “Dieing Planet” in the DSM VI.

  3. Barb Coddington

    Margaret, I have been out of town, visiting my son, who I might add is angrily weary of my predictions into his future, and just read your post. I am interested, of course.

    1. Margaret Klein Post author

      It would be great to have you, Andrew! Thanks! And to the question, “Is it the right room for an argument”– the answer is emphatically “no.” Climate Change: It’s Personal will have a distinctly non-argumentative tone! (Hoping so, anyway :)

  4. Dillon Culbreth

    Margaret,

    I am backing away from some of my existing group work, still managing several “fan” pages, so keep me in mind for admin duties.

    With that said, have you considered setting up a dedicated fan page instead of a group? Having worked as admin/manager on both, the order on the fan page is easier to follow, posts don’t move around like they do in groups, though the active posts stay at the top in groups, which can facilitate the “heavy” discussions.

    Just for consideration … and … Facebook changes recently have affected the speed of loading of groups … unless you’re accessing during the “off-peak” hours, load time on larger groups is becoming burdensome…

    Keep it up … doing services off the mountain tomorrow, early to bed

    Dillon

    1. Margaret Klein Post author

      Thanks for the tip, Dillon! I will check out a “Fan Page.” And you are welcome to be a “Safety Moderator” if you want! I think you would be good for it– you have a nice, welcoming attitude :)

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