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Am Psychol. 2011 May-Jun;66(4):265-76. doi: 10.1037/a0023141.

The psychological impacts of global climate change.

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  • 1Department of Counseling Psychology, Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, Portland, OR 97208-3174, USA. thomas@selfsustain.com

Abstract

An appreciation of the psychological impacts of global climate change entails recognizing the complexity and multiple meanings associated with climate change; situating impacts within other social, technological, and ecological transitions; and recognizing mediators and moderators of impacts. This article describes three classes of psychological impacts: direct (e.g., acute or traumatic effects of extreme weather events and a changed environment); indirect (e.g., threats to emotional well-being based on observation of impacts and concern or uncertainty about future risks); and psychosocial (e.g., chronic social and community effects of heat, drought, migrations, and climate-related conflicts, and postdisaster adjustment). Responses include providing psychological interventions in the wake of acute impacts and reducing the vulnerabilities contributing to their severity; promoting emotional resiliency and empowerment in the context of indirect impacts; and acting at systems and policy levels to address broad psychosocial impacts. The challenge of climate change calls for increased ecological literacy, a widened ethical responsibility, investigations into a range of psychological and social adaptations, and an allocation of resources and training to improve psychologists' competency in addressing climate change-related impacts.

PMID:
21553952
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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