20th April 2018
It was a warm balmy evening as more than 30 people gathered to think and feel together why conversations about climate change are difficult. Sally Weintrobe, psychoanalyst, writer, speaker and founder member of Climate Psychology Alliance, shared her thinking on why this is the case.
Following an initial group sharing of our experiences of these difficult conversations, Sally proposed that the current neoliberal culture we all live in boosts that part of us which feels entitled – ‘the exceptionist’; it feeds a belief that we can be it all, have it all and not feel guilty about it. It also undermines the caring part of us which would act to keep our sense of entitlement in check. However, many of us know that we are implicated in the destruction of our planet and the destabilising of our climate. The result is a moral injury which leaves us dispirited; we then use unconscious psychological defences, ‘magical thinking’, (‘if I take the car rather than walking it won’t make much difference’, ‘I work hard so I deserve xyz’, ‘the plane is going anyway’ etc) to avoid these feelings. It happens to us all, every day; we are faced with these moral dilemmas. When we are trying to have a conversation with someone who is deeply in this position, if we confront their ‘magical thinking’, more sustainable living and
Together we explored our experiences of these conversations and how we could have them in such a way as to mobilise action towards a more sustainable living and culture.culture. Ideas shared were:
- ‘Be the change’ – by simply being and embodying a more caring approach we can gently inspire others to gradually let go of defences, face the limits of reality and develop a sense of fair entitlement.
- Share our own moral dilemmas rather than point out others’ less caring choices.
- Find supportive others who feel/think similarly so we can have conversations honestly and openly without fear of losing or damaging relationships.
Personally, Sally’s talk and the group discussions will permeate in me for some time, especially when I am having conversations with others about climate change. I hope I will be less judgmental and more understanding. I also hope I will notice my own inner ‘exceptionist’ and ‘magical thinking’ at work!
Thanks to all who came along and shared with a caring heart.
We plan to organise future events aimed at supporting us with climate conversations so look out for news of these.
Trudi Macagnino, on behalf of Pulse group
For more information:
About Sally - www.sallyweintrobe.com
Climate Psychology Alliance - www.climatepsychologyalliance.org
Active Hope - If you are interested in meeting with like-minded others and sharing feelings regarding climate change you could become part of an Active Hope group. Contact Lia on firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentoring – if you are a therapist or counsellor and would like to support Transition activists by offering a talking space then contact Suzanne Dennis email@example.com
About Ecocide - If you would like to support a campaign to make ecocide an enforceable international crime against peace and at the same time support earth activists legally as ‘conscientious protectors’ then go to www.missionlifeforce.org