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BPS updates, Climate and environment

The climate crisis and its implications for children, young people, and Educational Psychologists

In the week the UK experienced record-breaking temperatures, the BPS’ Division of Educational and Child Psychology (DECP) explores the issue of climate breakdown for Educational Psychologists.

21 July 2022

By BPS Communications

The aim of the paper is to promote discussion among educational psychologists about the climate emergency, its impact on children and the role of educational psychologists (EPs) in raising awareness of and tackling the climate crisis.

Dr Dan O’Hare, co vice-chair of the DECP and author of the paper, said:

“Climate breakdown is having a range of effects on children and young people, at home and abroad. It is not an understatement to suggest that perhaps the most severe and enduring macrosystemic influence on children’s development now, and in to the future, will be the state of the planet’s climate, our vulnerability as a species to the effects of climate breakdown, and our ability to adapt or remain resilient to these changes.

The effects of climate breakdown are both immediate and gradual, physical and psychological. It’s an issue that is entirely relevant to the practice of EPs but the topic can feel overwhelming and it’s difficult to know where to begin. This paper aims to serve as a starting point for discussions around the climate emergency, which is clearly more pressing than ever.

While EPs might be a relatively small professional group, we can have huge influence and impact when we come together and speak with a collective voice – we’ve demonstrated this through our work on the narratives around play and ‘catch-up’ post-pandemic which we have worked together to shift. We can have the same impact here if we work together, discuss, and most importantly, take action.

Our role cannot only be about responding to difficulties that individual children may have around, ‘eco-anxiety’, we also need to consider the impact of our profession and responding accordingly. If we are to seriously tackle the climate emergency, and safeguard children’s futures, as a profession we must be bold and begin to enact real change.”

The full paper offers insights about the views of children on climate change, covers the continuing education of EPs around the climate emergency, the role of psychologists in taking action and how we might support children and young people.

Download the full paper

DECP members only.

Climate crisis, children, young people and educational psychology

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