Towards resilience: how are mental health professionals to respond to the climate crisis and the threat of ecosystemic collapse?

A symposium at the 2nd annual Irish Council for Psychotherapy conference. Presented by Feasta member John Sharry, with Phil Kearney and Aebhin Cawley.

Conference date: January 26-27 2012
Venue: Dublin Castle
More information on conference


‘Climate change is a significant and emerging threat to public health, and changes the way we must look at protecting vulnerable populations.’
‘Climate change poses an immediate, growing
and grave threat to the health and security of people in both developed and developing countries around the globe.’ BMJ.

In the context of the existential threats posed by climate change, peak oil and biodiversity loss how might the mental health professions position themselves and articulate appropriate responses?

In the first instance a major obstacle is the collective denial – at personal, professional and political levels – of the potential consequences for coming generations. The presenters in this workshop will sketch out the scientific basis for the imminent threats, examine the responses to date from some sections of the health professions and begin to construct a framework for addressing the consequences of ecosystemic collapse.

The presenters are two psychotherapists and a professional ecologist. The ecologist will address the realities of biodiversity loss and its implications. The psychotherapists will consider the psychological and relational aspects of large-scale collective denial, discuss implications for practice and seek to identify pathways to more healthy responses to the challenges posed by the ecological crisis.
Key Words: Climate change, mental health, resilience.
Costello, A. et al (2009). Managing the health effects of climate change., Vol. 373, May 16, 2009, 1693-733.
Sharry, J. (2010). Cultivating hope and managing despair. In R Douthwaite & G. Fallon (Eds.), Fleeing Vesuvius: Overcoming the risks of economic and environmental collapse. Green Books.
The Economics of Ecosystems And Biodiversity – for National and International
Policy Makers – Summary Responding to the Value of Nature (2009).

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