Module 7: Climate Psychology

The characteristics of climate change make it an incredibly challenging problem for us to solve. There are two aspects to this challenge: 1) that climate change is a wicked problem; and 2) that the characteristics of climate change are almost perfectly suited to shut down the human brain when it comes to perceiving and responding to risks.


The characteristics of climate change make it an incredibly challenging problem for us to solve. There are two aspects to this challenge:

  • That climate change is a wicked problem
  • That the characteristics of climate change are almost perfectly suited to shut down the human brain when it comes to perceiving and responding to risks

As noted in the quote above, our “risk brains” have had very little time to evolve since humans relied on basic pattern recognition to manage risks, as in the case of watching out for lions in the Serengeti.

Some of the climate change conversations with a direct bearing on the psychology of climate change include:

  • As weather extremes impact public opinion, what will be the net effect?
  • Can "forgiveness research" help us bypass current impediments to progress?
  • Can "meta-silence" on climate change be overcome?
  • Can one build a "positive" social movement around climate change?
  • Can we come up with better formulas for bridging rational and emotional thinking?
  • What are the implications of a "blame game" for the future of climate change

In this module you can explore these and other topics relevant to tackling climate change, and get access to numerous literatures and resources relevant to the psychology of climate change.

Module Content

Text lesson

REQUIRES PURCHASE Psychology Mini-Course

Text lesson

REQUIRES PURCHASE Psychology Resources

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