Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Psychologists meeting at the International Summit on Psychology and Global Health event in Lisbon have decided to do everything possible to promote behaviours which help address the climate crisis.
“We, representatives of national and international psychological organizations in attendance at the Lisbon Inaugural International Summit on Psychology’s Contributions to Global Health, are committed to ongoing collaboration in the application of psychological science to jointly advance progress on critical global issues, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Our commitment of professional, scientific, educational, cultural, and applied resources will be directed to advancing those issues and Goals for which psychology offers the greatest contribution.
Our initial efforts will be focused on Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Our mutual work on applications of psychological science to climate change will also provide a framework and model for future collaboration focused on proposals to address critical global issues”.
“WHEREAS there is overwhelming agreement among climate scientists that climate crisis poses a serious global threat, is occurring faster than previously anticipated, and is caused in part by human behavior;
WHEREAS the resistance of some individuals worldwide to accept evidence of climate crisis reflects a variety of psychological, social, economic, and political factors, including misunderstanding the relevant science; psychological threats of departing from the consensus view of one’s peer-group; deliberate exposure to misinformation; and concerns about financial losses stemming from addressing climate crisis;
WHEREAS current research and public communication on the impact of climate crisis have often emphasized the major physical damage caused by extreme weather, such as floods, droughts, hurricanes, and wildfires, and insufficiently addressed the increased displacement, migration, and conflict affecting those populations involved;
WHEREAS climate crisis has a disproportionate impact on already vulnerable groups with fewer resources, including low-income individuals or those who live in rural areas, people of color, women, children, older adults, and individuals with disabilities;
WHEREAS research shows that climate change-related events can result in major acute and chronic adverse mental health outcomes, including stress, trauma, and shock; post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of anxiety; depression; and substance use disorder, which have been a secondary consideration in climate change communication and action;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that our psychology organizations will advocate for and support international and cross-disciplinary collaboration to mitigate and facilitate adaptation to climate crisis.
We will inform our respective members and the public about climate crisis, emphasizing scientific research and consensus on its causes and short- and long-term harms, and the need for immediate personal and societal action;
We will encourage our members and other mental health leaders to be vocal advocates concerning the necessary preparatory and responsive adaptations to climate crisis and to invest more in research and practice is this area;
We will advocate for Universities and other entities could include formation on societal challenges and, particularly, climate crisis for psychologists and other mental health professionals;
We will increase the availability of services and supportive interventions to help minimize harm to mental health and well-being, especially among vulnerable populations, and increase community resilience;
We will advocate for the rights of those most susceptible to the negative health, and mainly, mental health impacts of climate crisis, for example, by encouraging policymakers to fully fund programs to aid those who suffer harm from severe climate crisis-related events;
We will support the development of a public awareness campaign to encourage individuals and communities to adopt behaviors to help prepare for and recover from gradual climate change and acute climate crisis events;
We will encourage governmental, educational, health, and corporate leaders to use more psychological science in police designs as well as to adopt norms, values, and policy to promote sustainable preventive and corrective behaviors in individuals, groups and communities“.
PROCLAMATION ON COLLABORATION SIGNED BY
American Psychological Association, Order of Portuguese Psychologists, Australian Psychological Society, Bahamas Psychological Association, Brazilian Society of Psychology, British Psychological Society, Canandian Psychological Association, Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations, Chinese Psychological Society, Asian Psychological Assocation, College of Psychologists of Peru, Colombian College of Psychologists, Cuban Society of Health Psychology, Cuban Society of Psychology, European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations, Flemish Association for Clinical Psychologists, German Psychological Society, Guatemala College of Psychologists, International Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of Psychologists, International Union of Psychological Science, Jamaican Psychological Society, Japanese Psychological Association, Jordanian Clinical Psychologists Association, Lebanese Psychological Association, Mexican Psychological Society, National Psychological Association of Ukraine, New Zealand Psychological Society, Nicaraguan Association for the Development of Psychology, Nigerian Psychological Association, Norwegian Psychological Association, Order of Psychologists of Albania, Pan-African Psychology Union, Psychological Association of Namibia, Psychological Society of Kenya, Seoul National University, Spanish Psychological Association, Sri Lanka Psychological Association, Swedish Psychological Association, Uganda Council of Psychologists, Uruguayan Psychological Association and Zanzibar Professional Counselors Association.Source: https://www.psychologyandglobalhealth.org
The American Psychological Association press release is available here.
I hope this proclamation is just empty words, because it is horrifying to consider the possibility a distressed person seeking help from a psychology professional might have their trust abused by a climate fanatic.