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Dealing with Eco-anxiety
Suzanne Chew, Little Climate
Foodscape Collective
●
22nd
October 2016
My background
● Physics & Env Tech
● Carbon markets
● NGO low-carbon projects
(clean cooking, clean
water, clean energy)
●...
When someone talks about climate
change, how do you feel?
When someone talks about climate
change, how do you feel?
Happy
Hopeful
Opti-
mistic
When someone talks about climate
change, how do you feel?
Happy
HopefulExcited
Opti-
mistic
Deter-
mined
Ready to
fight
When someone talks about climate
change, how do you feel?
Angry
Frustrated
Bitter
Happy
HopefulExcited
Opti-
mistic
Deter-...
When someone talks about climate
change, how do you feel?
Angry
Frustrated
Bitter
Helpless
Don't
Know Enough
Scared
Happy
...
When someone talks about climate
change, how do you feel?
Angry
Frustrated
Bitter
Helpless
Don't
Know Enough
Bored Scared
...
It can feel very confusing
Angry
Frustrated
Bitter
Helpless
Ignorant
Bored Scared
Disbelief Happy
HopefulExcited
Opti-
mis...
Problem #1:
Climate change is no fun at all!
(Easier to avoid it than deal with it)
Is this what people are doing?
“Dissonance”
Cultural
Dissonance
Cognitive
Dissonance
Emotional
Dissonance
“Dissonance”
Cultural
Dissonance
Cognitive
Dissonance
Emotional
Dissonance
Might help us
understand
ourselves better
Might...
Cultural
Dissonance
Unconscious view of the world through
the lens of 2 questions:
● What does my social/cultural group be...
Cultural
Dissonance
● This is why more facts and figures
won't really work
● They value their social ties too much to
risk...
“The mental stress experienced if you:
● Have two or more contradictory
beliefs at the same time;
● Do something that is c...
“The mental stress experienced if you:
● Have two or more contradictory
beliefs at the same time;
● Do something that is c...
CULTURE
FAMILY TRADITION
SOCIAL NORM
Why don't people #ActOnClimate?
● Fear of losing social ties and social standing
● Fear of losing lifestyle they are used ...
#1: Hear it often, from different sources
#1: Hear it often, from different sources
At Work
#1: Hear it often, from different sources
family
#1: Hear it often, from different sources
Friends
#1: Hear it often, from different sources
Books, Songs,
Movies, Plays,
Operas?
#2: Hear it from sources we identify with
“First of all, we are changing minds,
not hearts.
We’re starting with the assumption
that someone’s heart is in a good
pla...
#3: Hear it discussed based on values
Stewardship
Climate change is so big --> can’t
understand it --> can’t do anything about it
Climate change is so big --> can’t
understand it --> can’t do anything about it
Cultural
Dissonance
Cognitive
Dissonance
E...
Climate change is so big --> can’t
understand it --> can’t do anything about it
Education Fun
Actions
Start with little actions
Actions
Why I set up Little Climate
Education Fun
Actions
The More I Drew...
The More
Empowered I Felt!
3 minute doodle!
Pin up on strings, best one gets stickers!
(write your name)
3 minute doodle!
Draw what is important to you
in this world, in this life:
what you want to give time to
what gives you f...
3 minute list!
Look at your doodle:
"How will climate change affect this?"
On the other side of the paper, write down
as m...
Drawing and talking were not enough!
Still on this side:
Angry
Frustrated
Bitter
Helpless
Ignorant
Bored Scared
Disbelief
Defeated
“Intolerable Emotion”
● Too much to bear
● Too many feelings
● Too easily outraged
Emotional
Dissonance
“Intolerable emotion...leads people to avoid the thing that upsets them.
(For these people), it’s a mistake to assume that...
B E E T T S
B E E T T S
What
you Buy
What
you Eat
Energy
you use
How you
Travel
Talk
about it
Support
each other
B
● Sustainable cutlery set?
● Lunchbox?
● Waterbottle?
● Eat less meat
● Cut out beef, reduce pork
● Grow own produce
● T...
Actually, household decisions make
a huge difference
● “We highlight the importance of environmental
pressure arising from...
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
India
Indonesia
China
South Africa
Russia
Taiwan
Sweden
South Korea
France
Japan
Italy
Norway
...
50
200
266
11
43
22
45
39
40 (35 - 45)
47
84.5 (56 - 113)
88 (80 - 96)
135 (96 - 174)
0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Less animal...
Thank you
Dealing with Eco-Anxiety! by Little Climate
Dealing with Eco-Anxiety! by Little Climate
Dealing with Eco-Anxiety! by Little Climate
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Dealing with Eco-Anxiety! by Little Climate

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How drawing cartoons and starting little everyday eco actions helped me cope with climate trauma and depresssion, to take back control of climate change.

Published in: Environment
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Dealing with Eco-Anxiety! by Little Climate

  1. 1. Dealing with Eco-anxiety Suzanne Chew, Little Climate Foodscape Collective ● 22nd October 2016
  2. 2. My background ● Physics & Env Tech ● Carbon markets ● NGO low-carbon projects (clean cooking, clean water, clean energy) ● Set up Little Climate
  3. 3. When someone talks about climate change, how do you feel?
  4. 4. When someone talks about climate change, how do you feel? Happy Hopeful Opti- mistic
  5. 5. When someone talks about climate change, how do you feel? Happy HopefulExcited Opti- mistic Deter- mined Ready to fight
  6. 6. When someone talks about climate change, how do you feel? Angry Frustrated Bitter Happy HopefulExcited Opti- mistic Deter- mined Ready to fight
  7. 7. When someone talks about climate change, how do you feel? Angry Frustrated Bitter Helpless Don't Know Enough Scared Happy HopefulExcited Opti- mistic Deter- mined Ready to fight
  8. 8. When someone talks about climate change, how do you feel? Angry Frustrated Bitter Helpless Don't Know Enough Bored Scared Disbelief Happy HopefulExcited Opti- mistic Defeated Deter- mined Ready to fight
  9. 9. It can feel very confusing Angry Frustrated Bitter Helpless Ignorant Bored Scared Disbelief Happy HopefulExcited Opti- mistic Defeated Deter- mined Ready to fight
  10. 10. Problem #1: Climate change is no fun at all! (Easier to avoid it than deal with it) Is this what people are doing?
  11. 11. “Dissonance” Cultural Dissonance Cognitive Dissonance Emotional Dissonance
  12. 12. “Dissonance” Cultural Dissonance Cognitive Dissonance Emotional Dissonance Might help us understand ourselves better Might help us understand others better
  13. 13. Cultural Dissonance Unconscious view of the world through the lens of 2 questions: ● What does my social/cultural group believe? ● Will I still fit in if I believe or act different?
  14. 14. Cultural Dissonance ● This is why more facts and figures won't really work ● They value their social ties too much to risk not fitting in Source: Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School, 2012 Unconscious view of the world through the lens of 2 questions: ● What does my social/cultural group believe? ● Will I still fit in if I believe or act different? --> Choose to believe or act in order to fit in with social/cultural group Fear of losing social group
  15. 15. “The mental stress experienced if you: ● Have two or more contradictory beliefs at the same time; ● Do something that is contradictory to your beliefs; or ● Learns something new that contradicts existing beliefs.” Cognitive Dissonance
  16. 16. “The mental stress experienced if you: ● Have two or more contradictory beliefs at the same time; ● Do something that is contradictory to your beliefs; or ● Learns something new that contradicts existing beliefs.” Cognitive Dissonance “I am a good person / I care about the planet BUT I <insert lifestyle choice here>” --> Reduce mental discomfort – HOW? --> Rationalize it away --> Avoid thinking about climate change Fear of losing Lifestyle
  17. 17. CULTURE FAMILY TRADITION SOCIAL NORM
  18. 18. Why don't people #ActOnClimate? ● Fear of losing social ties and social standing ● Fear of losing lifestyle they are used to ● More facts and numbers won't work --> So what can be done?
  19. 19. #1: Hear it often, from different sources
  20. 20. #1: Hear it often, from different sources At Work
  21. 21. #1: Hear it often, from different sources family
  22. 22. #1: Hear it often, from different sources Friends
  23. 23. #1: Hear it often, from different sources Books, Songs, Movies, Plays, Operas?
  24. 24. #2: Hear it from sources we identify with
  25. 25. “First of all, we are changing minds, not hearts. We’re starting with the assumption that someone’s heart is in a good place. Someone’s heart has good values. We’re just trying to show how the values already in their heart connect with the issue of climate change.” Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University #3: Hear it discussed based on values
  26. 26. #3: Hear it discussed based on values Stewardship
  27. 27. Climate change is so big --> can’t understand it --> can’t do anything about it
  28. 28. Climate change is so big --> can’t understand it --> can’t do anything about it Cultural Dissonance Cognitive Dissonance Emotional Dissonance
  29. 29. Climate change is so big --> can’t understand it --> can’t do anything about it Education Fun Actions
  30. 30. Start with little actions Actions
  31. 31. Why I set up Little Climate Education Fun Actions
  32. 32. The More I Drew...
  33. 33. The More Empowered I Felt!
  34. 34. 3 minute doodle! Pin up on strings, best one gets stickers! (write your name)
  35. 35. 3 minute doodle! Draw what is important to you in this world, in this life: what you want to give time to what gives you fulfilment what gives you peace what gives you joy what you would protect what you would fight for
  36. 36. 3 minute list! Look at your doodle: "How will climate change affect this?" On the other side of the paper, write down as many points as you can think of.
  37. 37. Drawing and talking were not enough!
  38. 38. Still on this side: Angry Frustrated Bitter Helpless Ignorant Bored Scared Disbelief Defeated
  39. 39. “Intolerable Emotion” ● Too much to bear ● Too many feelings ● Too easily outraged Emotional Dissonance
  40. 40. “Intolerable emotion...leads people to avoid the thing that upsets them. (For these people), it’s a mistake to assume that outrage is low; their outrage is intolerably high. To reach them, arousing more outrage isn’t what’s needed; instead, we need to help them bear the outrage they’re already feeling. Source: Climate Change Risk Communication: The Problem of Psychological Denial http://www.psandman.com/col/climate.htm#emotion “Intolerable Emotion” ● Too much to bear ● Too many feelings ● Too easily outraged --> Avoid thinking about it, looks like apathy Emotional Dissonance
  41. 41. B E E T T S
  42. 42. B E E T T S What you Buy What you Eat Energy you use How you Travel Talk about it Support each other
  43. 43. B ● Sustainable cutlery set? ● Lunchbox? ● Waterbottle? ● Eat less meat ● Cut out beef, reduce pork ● Grow own produce ● Take cold showers ● Switch off lights ● Energy efficient appliances Start with little actions E E
  44. 44. Actually, household decisions make a huge difference ● “We highlight the importance of environmental pressure arising from households with their consumption contributing to more than 60% of global GHG emissions and between 50% and 80% of total land, material, and water use.” ● “Mobility, shelter, and food are the most important consumption categories across the environmental footprints.” Source: Ivanova et al., Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption, 2015, Journal of Industrial Ecology
  45. 45. 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 India Indonesia China South Africa Russia Taiwan Sweden South Korea France Japan Italy Norway Switzerland Netherlands Germany Denmark United Kingdom Canada Australia United States Carbon Footprint of household consumption per person per year (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) Selection of countries: Consumption emissions/pp/yr World average = 3.4 Source: Ivanova et al., Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption, 2015, Journal of Industrial Ecology
  46. 46. 50 200 266 11 43 22 45 39 40 (35 - 45) 47 84.5 (56 - 113) 88 (80 - 96) 135 (96 - 174) 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 Less animal protein (one meat-free day per week) Shift to a healthy diet Shift to a vegetarian diet Optimised thermostat settings Optimised ventilation behaviour Reduction of room temperature by 1°C Reduction of room temperature by 2°C Virtual meetings Teleworking Fuel efficient driving style Buying and using an plug-in hybrid Buying and using a smaller car Buying and using an electric car CO2 Million tonnes (Maximum realistic mitigation potential in the EU) Potential of Mobility, Shelter, Food Behaviour Changes Source: J Faber et al., “Behavioural Climate Change Mitigation Options and Their Appropriate Inclusion in Quantitative Longer Term Policy Scenarios”, Delft, CE Delft, April 2012 Carpool Bike Bus & Trains Less hot water use Optimize aircon use Less food waste Less food miles
  47. 47. Thank you

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