My Three Things for Climate Change
by Emmie Williamson, Clinical Psychologist; Green Party parliamentary candidate for South Northants; Co-Coordinator of West Northants Green Party; Coordinator of Flore Climate Group.
I’ve really enjoyed reading the other contributions in this space, and how the actions range from large and broad to tiny and specific. So I thought I’d choose three things along that spectrum.
When I first became fully aware of the magnitude of the climate and societal collapse that seems increasingly inevitable as governments and industries fail to meet the challenge of reducing emissions in time, I felt a deep need to connect with others who have this awareness. When studying climate psychology it is clear that in the face of such overwhelming information and the feelings that follow it, psychological defences, mainly different forms of denial and dissociation, are the norm. I’m sure you too have found yourself sounding slightly barmy when talking to a lot of people about the horrors coming our way, even though a lot of it is already happening. Even for those of us who have become fully aware, the feelings often oscillate, as it’s too hard for the mind to really comprehend, and for us to cope with the emotions continuously. We all have some level of psychological defence. “Climate cafés” are places to join others who want to open up awareness and feelings, process them, and connect with others. I decided to start an in-person group in my village to serve this function, and also to start to take action to build our climate resilience, reduce our carbon footprint and increase biodiversity. And I was really pleased recently to find CA-WN, and that this wonderful group runs climate cafés. Providing a supportive way to raise awareness is very effective, so such groups are also a form of action in themselves.
I read that one of the most impactful things we can do in the face of the climate emergency is to scrutinise where our pensions are invested and divest from any fossil fuel company the pension is invested in. I have an old, small private pension pot - I had it analysed and it was mainly invested in Shell! I’ve now moved it to a green and ethical investment fund, and enjoy the reports and webinars of the companies they invest in. I could have made a lot more money if I’d left it invested in fossil fuels, with the way things have gone, but at least my conscience is clear and my pension is doing some good.
It was hard to choose a tiny thing I’ve done, so I’ll mention the one foremost in my mind, as I’ve recently stopped buying disposable cloths (‘J-cloths’) and nearly bought some again today but stopped myself! Now I wash reusable cloths instead. In general I’m simply trying to consume less.