I’m writing on behalf of a group of international clinicians to invite you personally to add your name to an open letter drawing attention to how the voice of the existential professions is mostly missing in the climate crisis, and especially with regard how psychology and identity are causal in the emergency.
The letter below is a general invitation to the Globe and Psyche project designed for reaching out to our professional communities. I've signed on and I hope that you will want to participate in this initiative not only by signing the online letter but also by forwarding (or pasting and re-sending) this invitation to your networks, and placing links on your social media. You will surely want to replace some of these italicised comments of mine with some of your own, maybe recommending others’ involvement. The longer term and most transformational aim will be that of engendering local collegial conversations around identity and climate trauma pertinent to our clients and community.
With warm wishes,
Greetings friends and colleagues,
You are receiving this from one of the originating signatories, or through our collegial contacts, because you are a member of the broad psychological, psychosocial and psychospiritual community and we believe that there is an urgent need for us to act. We are writing to invite you to share in the Globe and Psyche project (the GaP) and to ask for your personal and clinical engagement in growing a public awareness and understanding of the psychological dimensions of our circumstances.
Modern Western thinking tends to consider the physical and non-physical aspects of life as separate. Bridging the gap between the life of the planet and our own lives is now as psychologically important as it is ecologically necessary at this time of climate crisis - statistics for anxiety, stress and depression increase and climate grief and eco-anxiety are added to the compendium of human suffering.
Human behaviour and identity are causal in perpetuating the ecological dilemma and attendant destruction. The climate is not the problem. It calls us to recognise ourselves within the global systemic process, to reflect upon the clinical, ethical and practical dimensions of our professional work and to re-evaluate our personal behaviour.
The GaP project will be sending an open web-letter to over 250 international media outlets academic institutions, government agencies and professional bodies as per the timetable below. We hope you will be willing to sign the letter and forward this email to your own networks and contacts, social media etc, perhaps adding a brief note about your participation as a professional in the field.
The time is right for adding our voice to the world's discourse, co-ordinating with the Global Week of Climate Action (20-27 September), the Collective Trauma Summit (12-21 October), Global Climate Change Week (14-20 October), and the UN Climate Summit (2-14 December).
Awareness and understanding of cause and effect also call for action at the personal and local level. While thinking about change may be daunting, we do it all the time - and it can be liberating within a supportive environment. In our consulting rooms, lecture theatres, house calls, and spiritual centres, and as members of our communities, we can build such an environment. The GaP big picture and media outreach can support local relevance and action through a community of shared, collegial involvement. In order to achieve this, we encourage you to begin engaging in small, informal conversations with your colleagues to explore what issues are manifesting in your particular locale. The GaP offers access to resources, discussions and suggested frameworks to enable these conversations to be informed and inspiring.
The climate-driven existential conversation is often disheartening, partly through the lack of a constructive and participatory experience. This email invitation to you is an attempt to change that by bringing the global into local focus. Please would you take a few moments to read the web-letter. Then, if you are in general agreement, sign on the form at the bottom of that page and circulate it to your own networks and contacts. If each of us sent this to just 5 people, we would have over 8,000 names in just 5 steps, and many of us know more than 5 concerned colleagues.
Finally, we would be very happy to receive any of your comments or ideas (here).
Thank you for considering how you could be involved. Both the need and the opportunity are great.
For all children, of all species, for all time,
Mark Skelding, M.Ed (Social Ecology), Dip.Psychotherapy (Psychosynthesis). [Aotearoa/NZ]
Deryn Cooper, PhD (Psychology), Dip.Psychotherapy (Psychosynthesis), Post Grad Cert Prof Supervision. [Aotearoa/NZ]
John Kingston, B.A. Dip Psychotherapy (Psychosynthesis), Post-Grad Cert. Prof Supervision, Reg Psychotherapist. [Aotearoa/NZ]
Claire Virtue, MSW (Hons), Dip Psychotherapy (Psychosynthesis), Reg Psychotherapist. [Aotearoa/NZ]
Stuart B. Hill, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Foundation Chair of Social Ecology, School of Education),University of Western Sydney. [Australia]
Keith Tudor, PhD. Professor of Psychotherapy and Head of School of Public Health & Psychosocial Studies, Auckland University of Technology. [Aotearoa/NZ]
David Key, BA (Hons), MSc (Dist), FCHE, MTUK, NZOIA, BCU. [Aotearoa/NZ]
Geoff Bridgman, PhD (Psychology). Social Practice, Unitec, Auckland. [Aotearoa/NZ]
Judith Anderson, MD, Psychiatrist, Jungian Analytic Psychotherapist, Climate Psychology Alliance executive member [UK]
Peter Crowe, MPhil (Hons), MA Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy. UKCP [UK]
Keith Hackwood, MA, PG Dip, BACP Spirituality [UK]
Alison Goldwyn, Founder, Synchronistory GmbH [Germany]
Andrew Bryant, MPH, LICSW [USA]
Molly Young Brown, M.A. (Humanistic & Transpersonal Psychology), M.Div. [USA]
Stephanie Mines, Ph.D. Neuropsychologist, Founder & Convener: Climate Change & Consciousness Conferences (next Norway 2021). [USA]
Zhiwa Woodbury, M.A. (Ecopsychology), J.D. (Natural Law). [USA]
Key events & dates
Global Week of Climate Action (20-27 September) - the web-letter launched and information sent out to more than 250 participating media.
Collective Trauma Summit (12-21 October) - taking the opportunity to promote this campaign as widely as possible.
International Day for Disaster Reduction (13 October)
the web-letter will be circulated to as many relevant government departments as we can.
Global Climate Change Week (14-20 October)
web-letter targetted to this transdisciplinary academic initiative.
UN Climate Summit (2-14 December)
web-letter and supportive information circulated to all delegates and NGO attenders.
International Happiness Day (20 March 2020): happiness requires that “economic development must be accompanied by social and environmental well-being”)
the web-letter and all names will be circulated to relevant professional and training bodies worldwide, concluding the first stage of the initiative.
Sample Press Release
Call for Psychological Understanding in averting Climate Collapse
An international group of clinicians, teachers, writers, academics and social commentators has launched a grass-roots initiative, Globe and Psyche (GaP), to grow the involvement of the psychological, psychosocial and psychospiritual professions in the public discourse and response to the Climate Emergency. Initiative originators in New Zealand, Australia, North America, the UK and Europe want the voices of the existential professions brought more powerfully into the discussion about what is increasingly being referred to as “a global existential crisis”.
The group is gathering signatures on a web-based letter to be widely sent out to conferences, professional associations and government departments. In this letter we discuss how human psychology, as well as suffering from the ecocrisis, needs to be understood as causal to the issue.
We state that “the climate is not the problem” - that for most of human history human beings have experienced themselves as living embedded within the bio-ecological matrix of the cosmos, as is still central to indigenous cultures worldwide. And that people caught in the Western mindset of separation of the individual from the collective and planet, face major identity crises. The current
climate emergency can be understood as the result of human identity and our sense of self being increasingly disconnected and separate from the systems on which that very identity depends. And the only way that the eco-crises can be stopped is through changing our identities to reconnect with the planet and all its inhabitants.
The GaP project suggests that the continuing rise in personal anxiety, trauma and disturbances to mental well-being seen in Western societies can be understood as responses to the changing world ecosystem. GaP challenges the psychological professions to enable individuals to experience themselves as a part of a living planet. This identity repositioning would, we consider, reduce individual stress, help communities to remain healthy, empower young people, and improve ecological resilience.
The online letter encourages signatories to generate collegial conversations discussing how their professions can address this needed identity shift. GaP points out that although identity change can seem threatening, human beings are good at it; people in many societies go through modifications to their identity, world-view and behaviour as part of their lifetimes' natural developmental processes.
The https://www.globeandpsyche.com/ website includes information to assist relevant professionals in building their own capacity, and to consider the strengths and limitations of their theories and working models. It calls for the development of effective, informed and locally active networks to address identity change, which it considers essential if we are all to survive on this planet.
Word count = 423
On this page -
a sample invitation email for you to send on to your networks (left)
and a sample press-release that you may want to use with local media (below)