Climate change has moved from an abstract idea to a reality — a reality that many people around the world are increasingly worried about. In this light, I’m excited to share this new episode of the American Psychological Association’s Speaking of Psychology podcast, which takes a deep dive into exploring the mental health effects of climate change.
I was honoured to be a guest on this episode alongside Dr. Thomas Doherty, a clinical and environmental psychologist based in Portland, Oregon, who specializes in applying an environmental perspective to mental health and well-being. Thomas and I discussed the mental health effects of climate change, and climate emotions like grief and anxiety, with host Kim Mills.
I shared guidance on how grief and anxiety are related when coping with climate change, as we simultaneously mourn losses and worry about future threats. I also described how Inuit in Labrador honour the past and their ancestors in order to take responsibility for, and deal with, present challenges.
Thomas spoke about how he helps people cope with climate angst, what it means to have a well-functioning emotional compass, and how to distinguish between fatigue and despair. He also explained the concept of “validate, elevate, create,” and how it can be used to help deal with problems.