Psychological barriers to climate change | Caroline Hickman | TEDxBathUniversity

Psychological barriers to climate change | Caroline Hickman | TEDxBathUniversity

This talk looks at some of the psychological barriers to taking action on climate change and argues that whilst we need to develop and implement practical and technical solutions, they will not be enough on their own. If we are going to find sustainable solutions then we have to find a way to face the paradox that it is only through facing our vulnerability, painful truths, collective denial, grief and loss that we will be able to develop the emotionally informed and sustainable action that we need to take to save ourselves as well as the planet. These inner ‘untrodden paths’ through our defences and complex feelings about climate change might just hold some of the answers we need, and counter intuitively show us the way.

Caroline has a background in social work and psychotherapy, currently working at the University of Bath as a Teaching Fellow in Social Work in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences. She has worked in social work since 1983 and as an Integrative Psychosynthesis Psychotherapist with children, couples and adults for 20 years. She qualified as a psychotherapist with Revision and studied archetypal & cultural psychology for three years with Thiasos in London. She is a PhD candidate in Education at the University of Bath researching children’s relationships with nature and climate change, use of therapy dogs working with people with Alzheimer’s’, and issues of identity affecting refugee and asylum seeking children.
Her Psychotherapy dissertation explored grief and depression and our relationship with the sea and salt water, both real and imaginal. She is also a PADI diving instructor and has spent many therapeutic hours hanging out with fish working underwater in the Sinai, Egypt.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


March 23, 2016 / 8 Comments / by / in
  • I have been walking a lot of places instead of driving lately

  • Excellent talk. I think that the problem is that lot's of people (myself included) say that they want to make the naked dash of terror but are just not willing to pay the price for it. The money would have to come from somewhere and, quite frankly, the UK is running out of places to take money from without a national outcry. Perhaps one idea would be to change nato policy so all of the nations spend on the military is pooled. This would mean that the nato would be the largest standing army in the world at a reduced cost due to the extra efficiency and also the fact that fewer borders need to be defended. This would mean that the national defense budget would be lower and then any surplus from the current budgets would go to a separate nato fund which is specifically for combating climate change. Climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism or war could ever be, so why do we spend so little on combating it?

  • great presentation, thank you. I believe in climate change. What I suspect is that many people don't know what they can do to minimize it in their lives. I try to remember to turn off lights when I'm not in a room, to use water briefly when I wash my hands, take a shower or wash dishes, I take the bus. But I'd like alot more tips on what I can do to help our planet and I bet many people feel the same way.

  • She appears to be a nice lady but this is like having your Granny breaking down the apocalypse in a sort of goofy way.

  • endocene

  • This poor stupid woman.Yes climate is changing it always has.We now know that the sun governs climate ,Not CO2.There is no data from thousands and millions of years that links extra CO2 to warming or cooling for that matter.We are going into a ''solar grand minimum'' we are cooling faster than ever recorded.and for knowledge of what is coming, climate wise ,look back in history to the Maunder minimum Some 400 years ago.The sun spots are just about non existent now as was the case back then .So you ignorant woman.stop your false science.If you want to worry.well the coming cold is a worry .you are the climate change denier .I know what causes climate change The Sun.

  • I brought it up to my barber – an easy conversationalist by profession. – I just got him talking about weather "Do you think it's climate change?" He had not ever talked about it before, so poured it out to me, I only corrected a few facts..Like why is sea level rising? (Heat melts ice and expands the oceans) He talked more, and I listened more. Ended up that I got very tight buzz cut – when I only wanted a trim… he just kept cutting my hair. Now I wear it as a badge of honor. Talking about it is the daily thing to do

  • Have the dogs put down and organise a peaceful method of suicide for when the time comes. You'll be prepared, and the woods will be a more pleasant and quiet place for other walkers who want to enjoy the short time there is left, believing it can be fixed is another form of denial.

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