Climate Change Empowerment Handbook

Here is the link to the CLIMATE CHANGE EMPOWERMENT HANDBOOK: Psychological strategies to tackle climate change from the Australian Psychological Society. (Thanks to Lance Foster for posting the link. Social media has become a way to educate each other).

Executive Summary

In this document we put forward eight simple but important “best practice” insights from psychological science to help people come to terms and cope with the profound implications of climate change, so that they can stay engaged with the problem, see where their own behaviour plays a part, and participate in speedy societal change to restore a safe climate.

These eight insights make the acronym A.C.T.I.V.A.T.E. and we hope they will ACTIVATE the public into more effectively engaging with the challenge of climate change!

The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook, Australian Psychological Society. Acknowledgments: This document was prepared for the Australian Psychological Society by Dr Susie Burke, with expert input from Sam Keast, Professor Ann Sanson, Heather Gridley, and members of the APS Climate Change Reference Group and Public Interest Advisory Group including Dr Lissa Johnson, Professor Joseph Reser and Dr Karen Spehr. ©2017
  • Acknowledge feelings about climate change to yourself and others and learn ways of managing feelings so you can face and not avoid the reality of climate change.
  • Create social norms about protecting the environment so that people see that ‘everyone is doing it’ and ‘it’s normal to be green’
  • Talk about climate change and break the collective silence so that more and more people see it as a risk that requires action
  • Inspire positive visions of a low-energy, sustainable, zero carbon world so that people know what we are working towards and can identify steps to get there.
  • Value it – show people how their core values are often linked to other values that are about restoring a safe climate, and that caring about these issues actually reinforces their core values.
  • Act personally and collectively to contribute to climate change solutions and feel engaged and less despairing.
  • Time is now. Show people that climate change is here, now and for sure so they see it is timely and relevant to them and impacts the things that they care deeply about.
  • Engage with nature to restore your spirits and connect with the very places that you are trying to protect.


Addressing climate change is an essential and urgent task if we are to have a chance of restoring a safe climate for humans and other species. Because climate change is caused by human behaviour, threatens human health and wellbeing, and requires profound changes in human behaviour to bring about solutions, it is as much a psychological and social problem as it is an environmental or ecological mega-disaster. The insights of psychologists and other social scientists into how people are responding to climate change are therefore critically important. The more we understand the psychology of how people are responding to climate change, the better we can help ourselves and others to overcome barriers of inaction, and get involved in effectively addressing climate change.

This handbook has a lot of useful insights. The point I’ve been struggling with recently is the “Time is now.” Despite the terrifying images from the California wildfires day after day, some people I know refuse to make the connection to rising greenhouse gas concentrations.

I continue spending a lot of time in nature. That is an advantage of not owning and using cars much. I enjoy searching for images to photograph. I’ve begun to wonder, though, if these photos might become a record, in the near future, of what doesn’t exist any longer.

And spending time in nature has become more meaningful as I’ve been more aware of the Spirit’s presence in all things.

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