Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Climate Change Network

Welcome to the UQ Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Climate Change Network, which was established in late 2019 to:

  • respond to the growing need to provide government and industry with an evidence base for policies to protect social and emotional wellbeing in climate change,
  • coordinate and expand research activities with university and industry/government /community partners,
  • harness trans-disciplinary expertise for greater innovation and impact, and
  • bring together a critical mass of research within this growing area of concern.

Experts from diverse discipline areas including psychology, environmental sciences, urban planning, social science, economics, mental health, and public health are working together to define the problems, identify evidence gaps, offer opportunities for higher degree research students, and propose new research targeted at improving social and emotional wellbeing in climate change.

Ultimately, this new knowledge will inform service planning and targeted strategies that will support people's social and emotional wellbeing as we adapt to a changing climate. 

Goals

The network aims to:

  • foster genuine collaboration between research groups, government agencies, community organisations, and industry partners; 
  • help position our members for strategic funding and investment opportunities; and
  • share ideas, expertise, and outputs. 

How is climate change impacting our mental health?

News about climate change and its impacts can be overwhelming even for those who might feel distanced from its impacts. Imagine the stress being felt by those who are living in areas where the effects of a changing climate are already being experienced. While many acknowledge the impacts of climate change on mental health and broader social and emotional wellbeing, there is currently little evidence about the burden climate change is having on our mental health, nor to guide policymakers, health service planners, or communities about ways to best support people cope with climate change.

More questions than answers...

In reflecting on the human social and emotional aspects of climate change, many questions come to mind for which we have few answers.

  • How do people cope with the impacts of a changing climate? 
  • How do we preserve our social and emotional wellbeing in a hotter, drier region with more frequent natural disasters?
  • What emotions motivate people to deny climate change, or to take direct action, sometimes at the expense of their social standing or personal safety?​
  • How does the natural world influence our mental wellbeing?
  • How are experiences of nature associated with environmental concern?
  • What are the characteristics of therapeutic landscapes?
  • How do we maintain therapeutic landscapes in a changing environment?
  • What can we learn from traditional Indigenous knowledge to improve social and emotional wellbeing?
  • What kind of supports will be needed as the effects of climate change become more widespread?
  • What can government agencies, industries, and communities do to harness social innate strengths and to build resilience through these changes? 

The Social and emotional wellbeing in climate change group is committed to answering these questions.

 

    Join our network

    Do you want to be a member of our Social and Emotional Wellbeing in Climate Change Network? We are keen for collaborators across UQ, and in government and industry, to get involved.

    Contact

    For more information about the Climate Change and Health TIRN, please contact:

    Kate Gadenne
    Research Development Manager
    School of Public Health
    e: k.gadenne@uq.edu.au