Children and the Climate Crisis
Friday 1 (eve) and Saturday 2 May 2020 - London
Working with Young People their Anger, Fear, Grief and Hope
With chair Judith Anderson and contributors Amrita Bhohi, Beth Collier, Sarah Deco, Jay Griffiths, Anna Harvey, Caroline Hickman, Katharine Lewis, Zion Lights, Jo McAndrews, Catriona Mellor, Isobel Pick, Jocelyne Quennell, Verity Sharp, Sonia Shomalzadeh, Tree Staunton, Steve Thorp, Sally Weintrobe and youth activists.READ MORE...
This conference focuses on life for children and adolescents in the era of climate chaos and the Sixth Mass Extinction. As young people hear daily reports of environmental disasters, how can the complexity of their feelings – their anger, fear and sense of abandonment – be heard, understood and fully responded to? How is the current ecological crisis showing up in their behaviour, preoccupations, dreams, and sense of future? How do they navigate the tension between hope and despair; action and nihilism? And what insights can psychotherapy offer, when we perhaps feel just as lost?
This conference brings together psychoanalytic, interdisciplinary and young peoples’ perspectives to examine how the widespread adult denial and disavowal of the climate emergency impacts on the burden carried by our children. We can see that they are often the most clear-sighted, outspoken and alive to the pain of the non-human other. What are they carrying for us? Do they feel and express the pain of the world for many? Why do adults find it so hard to hear their perspective and to tolerate their distress? To take the action they are asking for?
Asking difficult questions and facing the moral, practical and spiritual journey that is needed to transform our behaviour for the sake of all living species, we will ask how adults – who ourselves have to face our own grief, loss and anxiety – can be most effective in containing and responding to children’s needs in this era. Together we will consider the importance of keeping their interests at the centre of our hearts and minds – in climate emergency conversations, at home, at school and in the clinical setting. Perhaps most importantly, we will look at where hope and resilience reside. Bringing many voices and some rich creativity into our programme, we hope these conversations will provide therapists, teachers and parents with some structure, vocabulary and insight that provides a meaningful difference to our young people.
SPEAKERSAmrita Bhohi, Judith Anderson, Sally Weintrobe, Beth Collier, Jocelyne Quennell, Zion Lights, Tree Staunton, Sarah Deco, Catriona Mellor, Steve Thorp, Jay Griffiths, Caroline Hickman, Dr Anna Harvey, Sonia Shomalzadeh, Katharine Lewis, Jo McAndrews, Verity Sharp, Isobel Pick, Jocelyne Quennell, ,
Friday 1 May 2020
Artist Sonia Shomalzadeh will be creating live art reflecting the themes of the day.
Conference Chair: Judith Anderson
Judith Anderson and Caroline Hickman
Introduction and Welcome
Listening to the Wisdom of Children’s Voices in the Climate & Biodiversity Crisis
“We saw online that people in Iceland had a funeral for a glacier, but we will be underwater soon because of rising sea levels, and the world doesn’t seem to care about this, or about us, who will have a funeral for us?” Child from The Maldives
As future generations, children and young people have the largest stake in finding solutions to the climate and biodiversity emergency, but so often the narrative around climate crisis communication and related psychological trauma can split between “protecting” children from the facts or “abandoning” or terrifying them by telling them too much. But maybe we need to hold this tension of opposites. Can we find ways to protect children whilst validating and acknowledging their fears. As children take to the streets to express their pain, frustration and despair, do we, the “adults”, need to more honestly examine our defences and learn to really listen to them, to tolerate their distress, to face our guilt, grief and shame and find ways to navigate the new world that is emerging together?
Did we Care When Birds and Animals Died during the Sixth Extinction?
Children are naturally close to and fascinated by animals. Children are as Vaclav Havel put it “pre-political”, meaning not yet so influenced by culture. The pre-political is deeply political. Sally sees our prevailing culture of un-care as working to break links between humans and animals and to invite us to treat animals (and the animal we are) as “distanced others”. How are we facing the Sixth Mass Extinction? Can children help adults repair their inner representations of the natural world and our place in it? The danger is animals will die in their millions without being sufficiently loved to be mourned and fought for.
Dear Future Generations: Sorry by Prince Ea
Media Panel Session: How does the Media Represent Voices of Youth in Relation to the Climate Emergency?
Did we Care When Birds and Animals Died during the Sixth Extinction?
Verity Sharp from Radio 4 in conversation with youth climate activists, activist and ecologist Amrita Bhohi, author Jay Griffiths and Caroline Hickman.
Hearing the children’s voices in the world, what are they trying to communicate and how is the media implicated in silencing, dismissing, discrediting, shaping or promoting their voices.
Poetry reading: Legacy
Saturday 2 May 2020
Registration and Coffee
Caroline Hickman and Judith Anderson
Reflections from the Previous Evening + Q&A
Youth Activists Panel Session + Q&A
Young climate activists discussing what it is like to be growing up with climate emergency awareness, intersectionality, intergenerational conflict and awareness of climate crisis as social injustice.
Jo McAndrews in Conversation with Anna Harvey, Katharine Lewis, Zion Lights and Steve Thorp with Q&A
More Than Just Words – Talking with Children about Climate Crisis at Home and at School
Children look to the adults in their lives to keep them safe. How do we tell the truth about the climate and ecological crisis in a way that makes sense to them and also protects them from overwhelming feelings? Parents, school staff and others who work with children are finding this challenge difficult to navigate. It is clear that we can’t support children effectively until we have enough support ourselves in facing the inevitable grief, loss, guilt, rage and confusion around what is happening in our world. What changes do we need to make at home and in our schools and organisations in order to build the resilience needed to have these important conversations in a way that builds resilience and capacity to act.
Singing Our Way Forwards
Judith Anderson in Conversation with Beth Collier, Anna Harvey, Caroline Hickman, Catriona Mellor & Tree Staunton
Clinical Discussion: What are the Clinical Issues for Psychotherapists Working with Children and Families in the Context of the Climate Crisis?
When the facts are terrifying, adults or parents may not be able to change them in order to reassure their children. Adults may feel powerless and children may feel that their parents don’t know how to help them. What is the work of psychotherapy and eco-therapy here? Is it internal intrapsychic work, external activism, or both? How do we develop a climate crisis aware psychotherapy? What are the most thoughtful professional and clinical responses to this?
Inspiration for Clinical Practice
Beth Collier: Ethnography and Eco-Psychology in Practice
Caroline Hickman: Dreams and Active Imagination
Sarah Deco: Story and Metaphor as Psychological Support in a Changing Climate
Jo McAndrew: Deep Resilience & Embodiment
Implications for Trainings and the Role of the Professional Bodies
Judith Anderson in conversation with Tree Staunton UKCP, Isobel Pick Chair for the ACP, Jocelyne Quennell Chair of the UKCP Child Faculty and Director of Wellbeing at the Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education
Poetry reading: Leave-Taking