Contributing psychological understanding within the community to support and facilitate strong and urgent action on climate change

Our Objectives

  • To contribute psychological understanding within the community to support and facilitate strong and urgent action on climate change.
  • A particular focus will be the psychological defense of denial.
  • Throughout our work our intention and hope is that people will become free to act rather than react or withdraw in despair.

     Our strategies include:

  • Reflecting on and using our own emotional response to climate change.
  • Contributing to understanding by writing papers and articles about the psychological response to climate change.
  • Drawing on evidence and research on how  attitudes and values can change with regard to climate change.
  • Conducting action-research, such as the use of sociodrama and interviews.
  • Developing tools, such as games, that will engage people at an emotional level.

OMERTA - the code of silence

An Italian psychoanalyst Riccardo Romana (1997) has used the term Omerta—the code of silence. A term used to describe the code of secrecy -  especially one taken by fellow members of criminal organization, such as the  mafia.

Omerta refers to the kind of situation where members of the group are aware of something fundamental which is not being discussed, a kind of “elephant in the room”. 

The implied threat is that breaking Omerta will lead a person to become a scapegoat or being expelled.  

Omerta is the code so strong an entire community may become speechless, unable to speak out to change the status quo for fear of consequences, or through a sense of hopelessness and impotence. 

This kind of deafening silence has .... been particularly noticeable when climate change is mentioned in normal social life. 

Ann Noonan & Jule Macken, Stardust, in Depth Disorder and Climate Change, Marshall, Jonathon(ed) 2009, pp 223-4

Skeptical Science: Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Psychology for a Safe Climate has joined the Transition Decade alliance

DEBUNKING Handbook: Debunking myths is problematic. Unless great care is taken, any effort to debunk misinformation can inadvertently reinforce the very myths one seeks to correct. To avoid these “backfire effects”, an effective debunking requires three major elements.