So, it’s come to this: the “Climate Psychology Certificate” offered by the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Just when you think you’ve seen every twist on climate change, along comes a course that combines it with… psychology? Interesting combo.
The CIIS states,
“Psychology has a vital role in addressing the climate and ecological crises, yet it is often missing from the conversation.”
But one has to wonder, is it genuinely missing, or have most people been occupied with real life?
Here’s the thing: while the program might want to discuss our “collective trauma” about the Earth’s future, it’s vital to ask a simple question: where’s the emergency? Overwhelming evidence suggests that the changes we’re observing in climate aren’t particularly unprecedented or dire. Instead, such shifts have been a regular part of our planet’s history. So what makes this moment so traumatizing that we need an entire course to psychologically unpack it?
The program aims to provide a
“comprehensive understanding of the interplay between psyche, culture, and the more-than-human world.”
While the wording is a bit lofty, it makes me wonder: is this a study of our environment or some metaphysical extraterrestrial endeavor?
When it comes to climate change, most of us prefer data over drama. Climate trends, historical weather patterns, and evidence-based predictions should be our focus. However, CIIS offers a dive into “eco-anxiety” and “climate-informed therapy.” But, if it’s therapy you’re after, I’d suggest diving into solid facts. There’s a calming effect to understanding the real world without the added layers of exaggerated concern.
With all their talk of integrating
“depth psychology, indigenous and decolonial thought, archetypal cosmology, ecopsychology, and environmental humanities,”
the course sounds more like a linguistic exercise than a genuine attempt to grapple with climate realities.
The truth? The climate has always been changing. It’s how Earth rolls.
With abundant energy and technological innovation, there’s never been a better time to be alive. Instead of getting lost in ‘depth psychology’ or ‘archetypal cosmology,’ we’d do better by studying actual climate trends. The planet has seen warmer periods without the presence of SUVs and factories. Let’s get real about this.
Hiding behind a therapeutic veneer, it’s clear this program is just social justice cultural Marxist indoctrination.
Climate psychology themes live within a social justice context an understanding that facing climate change includes addressing racial, gender, and generational collective suffering, human rights abuses, rights of nature, and the historical responsibilities for environmental damage. Particular attention will be paid to the inequitable impacts of climate change on the mental health of marginalized and vulnerable populations, and the importance of ethical policies and decision making that prioritizes these groups. This exploration includes how to deconstruct systemic harm perpetuated in colonized minds and practices.
It seems like programs like the one CIIS offers might be unintentionally adding to the very “eco-anxiety” they claim to address.
Guided by a developmental lens, the training will include the ways in which climate change can be explained to children of various age groups, giving kids reason to hope and become part of meaningful change without minimizing the challenges ahead. With half the youth (16 –25 year old) reporting distress about the climate in ways that disrupt their daily lives and functioning, the program will address the moral injury that government inaction has inflicted.
If you’re continually told that every change in weather is a sign of impending doom, it’s no wonder people are anxious. Offering courses to manage the fear they help perpetuate? Well, that’s one way to keep the cycle going.
“Cultivate relational and embodied practices for engaging the more-than-human world and the mysteries of nature,”
they say. Here’s a simpler version: go outside and enjoy nature. You don’t need a certificate to do that. We should be wary of linking natural wonders with an environmental doomsday narrative. It’s counterproductive.
In the end, understanding the climate requires a dash of common sense. Look at the data, understand Earth’s history, and remember that the planet has always been changing. There’s no need to overcomplicate things or stoke unnecessary fears. A deep breath and a dash of realism are often the best therapy, and they come without the tuition fees.
I was asked to read and review a work of Climate Fiction titled: “Missy’s Twitch” which is about almost this exact subject. The book will be coming out in October. Here’s a small blurb.
Missy Mayburn Crowe, heiress to an energy fortune built off fossil fuels, is stricken with overwhelming anxiety over what she believes is a looming “climate apocalypse.” Wracked with guilt over her family’s possible contributions to climate change, Missy develops an involuntary twitch, diagnosed by a famed TV shrink as climatosis. Exposure on television and in social media propels climatosis into a worldwide social contagion. That makes Missy a celebrity ripe for exploitation by politicians, media, and business opportunists as “proof” that the apocalypse is now—even if the evidence suggests otherwise.
Told with humor, insight, and brisk pacing, Missy’s Twitch offers an entertaining twist on conventional wisdom about one of the most controversial issues of our time.