Essential Reading: “The id and the eco” – on #climate change, anxiety and acknowledging feelings of helplessness

Here is some must-read reading for anyone who thinks – or acts as if – more information about climate change and its impacts is how you shift behaviour and opinions. It’s a crystal-clear (no jargon!)  article by Rosemary Randall, “a psychoanalytically trained psychotherapist and a writer, researcher and blogger on climate change.”

It starts;

When I was young, I was told that there were a number of topics I shouldn’t talk about at dinner parties: politics, religion, sex, money and death usually featured on the list. Today we might add climate change. Like politics or religion, the subject can lead to conflict or controversy. Like sex or money, it can cause embarrassment. Most importantly, like death, it can raise fears and anxieties that people feel have no place in polite conversation.

Climate change is a disturbing subject that casts a shadow across ordinary life. I recall an encounter with a woman called Sandra at a community project I was running. As we completed a questionnaire to calculate her individual carbon footprint, she pushed her coffee cup awkwardly away and said: ‘I hate all that advice about “Don’t overfill the kettle, turn your thermostat down, unplug your phone charger.” I try to follow it but, every time I do one of those things, it makes me think about climate change and I feel hopeless, upset. So then I don’t bother. Why make yourself feel bad when there isn’t really anything you can do?’ Sandra expressed openly what most people don’t admit — thinking about climate change is upsetting and brings to the surface an internal conflict about how to respond.

and you can read the rest of it here.

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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2 Responses to Essential Reading: “The id and the eco” – on #climate change, anxiety and acknowledging feelings of helplessness

  1. normanc25 says:

    Apart from suggesting the “id and eco”article is a must-read – what is your point of view here ?

    I have some agreement with the response by ‘Lester’ . Here are a few selected quotes:
    “The anxiety surrounding Climate Change would be more easily managed with a realistic and feasible alternative offering reason for hard work and change.
    If everyone in the whole of Sweden turned off all of their electricity for an entire year it would save LESS CO2 that is released by one of Shells gas plumes in the Niger Delta.”

    So … be clear about the relative scale of contributions, particularly corporate and institutional; don’t pathologise individuals lifestyles but point to where best to apply pressure to achieve systemic change through collective action.
    Try Benjamin Kunkel for a cracking slogan:

  2. pendantry says:

    Without ‘reading the rest of it there’ I’m left thinking “oh, so the advice is stay schtum, to be polite, and just watch as the world burns?”

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