Videos about climate anxiety (and COVID-19)

Four videos are free to watch on the University of Helsinki "tube". I made these originally for students of psychology in Spring 2020, but they serve a wide audience. 


1) Climate anxiety

  • What are eco-anxiety and climate anxiety? 
  • What kind of manifestations and symptoms may be included?
  • Emotions and climate anxiety
  • People who are especially vulnerable or exposed to climate anxiety
  • The need for a systemic approach, which takes into account social factors and justice issues

You can watch the 27-minute lecture here


2) Coping with climate anxiety

  • Coping theory and resilience theory
  • Susanne Moser: emotionally wise climate communication
  • Maria Ojala's application of coping theory for climate crisis
  • Varieties of resilience, including emotional resilience (Davenport), transformational resilience (Doppelt), and existential resilience (Pihkala)
  • Insights from ecopsychology (Macy & Johnstone; Greenspan)
  • Tips for coping (climate psychology organizations)

You can watch the 15-minute video here


3) Coronavirus anxiety and climate anxiety

  • Relationship between fear, anxiety, worry, and panic
  • Similarities between coronavirus anxiety and climate anxiety
  • The positive dimension: "practical anxiety" (Charlie Kurth, see his own text here)
  • Differences between these anxieties
  • Hints for coping with coronavirus anxiety (and climate anxiety)

You can watch the 17-minute video here


4) Psychosocial perspectives on climate psychology

  • Introduction to "psychologies of the environment"
  • Varieties of climate psychology
  • Doherty & Clayton: psychological impacts of CC
  • Psychosocial approach (Paul Hoggett, Rosemary Randall, Renée Lertzman, Matthew Adams etc.)
  • Links with sociology (Norgaard)

You can watch the 11-minute video here


A short commentary about developments since the recording of these videos

Research on climate anxiety and eco-anxiety has grown rapidly. I mention many of these studies in my two long articles from Autumn 2020, "Anxiety and the Ecological Crisis" and "Eco-anxiety and Environmental Education", but naturally there's more. Susan Clayton has published several articles. Matthew Adams provides a helpful overview of Critical Psychology and Climate Change, with a partly indexed bibliography. Britt Wray's newsletter Gen Dread introduces a lot of research and public discussions. Caroline Hickman's research on children, youth, and climate anxiety extends the contributions of psychosocial studies. 

I made these videos when the COVID-19 pandemic was still in its early stages. Varieties of emotional responses and anxieties have grown more complicated since those days. There have also appeared new similarities and differences between climate anxiety and coronavirus anxiety, but this is not the place to even try to discuss those. A collection of articles, or perhaps two of them, edited by Sam Mickey and Douglas Vakoch, will take that discussion further, and I wrote an introductory chapter for that project. There is now also actual empirical research about some aspects of coronavirus anxiety and discussion about psychometric scales for it, but much remains to be studied.


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