Talking to people in her life about the changing climate, Grace Langmead often feels defeated by the emotion and opposition she encounters.
The Wodonga woman hopes to find a solution to this in the first workshop on the Border held by the Melbourne-based Psychology for a Safe Climate group.
“It's difficult having those conversations,” she said.
“What I find is it very quickly gets heated and your friends and family becoming upset about it, so you drop it.
“I start to feel I just don’t want to talk about it.”
Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health member Lizette Salmon, who co-ordinated the workshops, said she wanted to break this barrier.
“We’re trapped in this spiral of silence, so people who are concerned shy away from the conversations because we’ve had negative experiences,” she said.
“Some of the media misreport or under-report which compounds the problem, and the government sits on their hands.
“If you have climate silence, climate science and solutions aren’t going to win.”
Ms Salmon said next weekend’s workshops had come out of a conversation with facilitator Carol Ride, co-author of Let’s Speak about Climate Change.
“I happened to know the co-author and said to her, ‘If we were to have a workshop on conversations around climate change, how should I structure it?,” she said.
“At the end of the conversation, she said, ‘Why don’t Ben and i just come up?”
“Ben Nisenbaum is still a practising psychologist and Carol use to be, and now is a full-time climate activist.”
Ms Salmon said the other facilitator would be Ben Nisenbaum, who had become involved with Psychology for a Safe Climate for a very relevant reason.
“The reason Ben came to the group was because he was practising in a rural area and he found that climate change was infiltrating his work as a psychologist,” she said.
“I don’t know whether that was farmers suffering mental health problems due to the drought, but he realised he needed to develop expertise in this area.”
Mr Nisenbaum and Ms Ride will conduct a round-table discussion and mentor on having one-on-one talks from 1.30 to 3.30pm on Saturday, October 29 at the Sustainable Activity Centre in Gateway Village.
Ms Salmon encouraged those interested to RSVP by Monday on (02) 6059 4185.
“This is the first time we’ve had people here specifically for having a conversation about climate change,” she said.
“(That conversation should be) one that’s calm, respectful and where people listen to each other.”
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