This is a guest episode from the Books, Books, Books podcast
Rebecca Huntley on looking your children in the eye, managing eco-anxiety, and how to use emotions such as guilt, anger, fear and hope to change hearts as well as minds in the climate change debate.
Rebecca Huntley is one of Australia's most experienced social researchers and former director of The Mind and Mood Report, the longest running measure of the nation's attitudes and trends. She holds degrees in law and film studies and a PhD in gender studies, and is a mum to three young children. It was realising she is part of the problem older generation that caused her change of heart and to dedicate herself to researching our attitudes to climate change. She is a member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Corps, carries out social research for NGOs such as The Wilderness Society and WWF, and writes and presents for the ABC. This is her sixth book.
A toolkit for understanding our emotional responses to climate change and how we can have meaningful conversations across dividing lines. 'The antidote to climate anxiety is action. Make your first action reading this book.'
'Rebecca Huntley has given us a great gift: an essential guide to understanding ourselves and each other as we face the climate crisis. Let's take down the walls that divide us. Collectively, with compassion and courage, we can make real change happen.'
'Explains whether and how we will choose to solve the climate problem. Immensely important analysis in a great read.'
Professor Ross Garnaut
Why is it so hard to talk about climate change?
While scientists double down on the shocking figures, we still find ourselves unable to discuss climate change meaningfully among friends and neighbours - or even to grapple with it ourselves.
The key to progress on climate change is in the psychology of human attitudes and our ability to change. Whether you're already alarmed and engaged with the issue, concerned but disengaged, a passive skeptic or an active denier, understanding our emotional reactions to climate change - why it makes us anxious, fearful, angry or detached - is critical to coping on an individual level and convincing each other to act.
This book is about understanding why people who aren't like you feel the way they do and learning to talk to them effectively. What we need are thousands - millions - of everyday conversations about the climate to enlarge the ranks of the concerned, engage the disengaged and persuade the cautious of the need for action.