Waarom we apathisch zijn over klimaatverandering – en hoe dit te doorbreken

Waarom we apathisch zijn over klimaatverandering – en hoe dit te doorbreken

Let op: de voertaal van dit programma is Engels – For English text see below

Klimaatverandering veroorzaakt een uiterst bedreigende situatie en het is steeds onwaarschijnlijker dat we nog op tijd zijn om dit te voorkomen. Wie wordt daar niet cynisch en moedeloos van? Vooral de jongere generatie maakt zich hier zorgen over.

Ondanks een wetenschappelijke consensus over het bestaan van klimaatverandering en het belang van grootschalig en snel ingrijpen, blijft werkelijke actie uit. Een apathische houding is de publieke norm. Want we geven om de natuur en onze kleinkinderen, maar we geven ook om onze vliegvakantie.

Volgens klimaatpsycholoog Renee Lertzman is onze apathie een copingmechanisme om te dealen met sterke gevoelens van angst, schuld, pijn, verlies en ambivalentie. Het probleem is niet een gebrek aan betrokkenheid, het probleem is dat we niet weten wat wij, nietige individuen, kunnen doen aan de bedreigingen waar de klimaatcrisis ons voor stelt en het niet kunnen uithouden met innerlijke conflicten en dilemma’s.

Vanavond onderzoeken we samen met Lertzman, jonge changemakers en kunstenaars hoe we op een nieuwe manier over klimaatverandering kunnen praten, hoe we publiek ruimte kunnen geven aan angst, schuldgevoelens en machteloosheid zonder elkaar direct te veroordelen, en elkaar  kunnen motiveren om toch een verschil te maken.

Wees welkom bij deze avond klimaattherapie!

Renee Lertzman is van 4 tot 12 november op uitnodiging van Radboud Reflects in Nederland. Ze geeft op zondag 6 november een lezing in Nijmegen.

English text:

Why climate change produces apathy, not action
And what we can do about it

English spoken

The warnings have been issued, and the message is loud and clear: our individual and collective inaction may lead to unimaginable consequences. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has cautioned that without urgent action on climate change, we face a “very high risk of severe, widespread and irreversible impacts globally”. However, despite these urgent calls for drastic measures, we fail on a personal, political an institutional level to act ambitiously.

Climate change isn’t just a political, social and economic issue. It’s also a deeply psychological one. Environmental psychologist Renee Lertzman seeks to explain why we fail to act on climate change. It’s not just because people don’t care, she argues. Rather, our emotional response to the issue, which for many people is a deep but unprocessed sense of anxiety and loss, can leave us feeling powerless and paralyzed. This arrested state of unprocessed grief over the destruction of the natural world, which she refers to as “environmental melancholia,” blocks us from taking action. She argues we’ll need to find new ways to deal with these feelings:

“Perhaps we have trouble grasping the abstract nature of climate change because it’s too scary to contemplate, unless there’s a sense of a solution. Perhaps we need to not shy away from the potential losses relating to climate change, but to find skillful ways of acknowledging loss while turning our sights to the enormous opportunities we have for an even better life if we act accordingly. Perhaps, rather than focusing on only the cognitive challenges, we can come up with innovative ways of measuring the experience of climate change that include conflicts and dilemmas that can make it hard to respond, so we can capably support, facilitate, and enable collective forms of engagement. Then we’d really be on to something big.”

Tonight we’ll explore with young changeagents and artists, how to find meaning in these feelings of loss, anxiety and ambivalence, and how to find new ways of engaging ourselves with climate change.

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Renee Lertzman

Renee LertzmanRenee Lertzman has been bridging psychodynamic research and environmental issues for more 20 years. An internationally recognized thought leader and adviser, Renee works with organizations, professionals, and practitioners from government, business, philanthropic, and non-governmental sectors to design research tools, engagement practices, and strategies suited for the uniquely challenging nature of environmental work. Renee’s first book, Environmental Melancholia: Psychoanalytic Dimensions of Engagement, was published by Routledge in 2015. Learn more at her website.


Imre Ploeg

Imre PloegImre Ploeg (1990, the Netherlands) graduated summa cum laude from the Bachelor of Music Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He was taught by composer Huub de Vriend and choral conductor Jos Vermunt among others.

As a conductor, composer and workshop leader he worked for the Royal Concertgebouw, the Dutch Student Chamber Choir, Opera2day, the Bernard Lievegoed University, the Vrije Hogeschool and several other cultural and educational institutions in the Netherlands and abroad.

Deeply connected to nature, ecology and the future of his generation, Imre is aiming to build bridges in different projects, connecting choir singing, living in and with nature, spirituality and the ecological crisis. He works together with several environmental organizations, scientists, ecologists, educational institutes, choirs, musicians and other artists, with the focus on young people.






Princess Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld

Princess Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld is a social reformer who focusses on the restoration of the relationship between humanity and nature. She is a honorary member of the international think – tank The Club of Budapest and founder and Chairman of the Lippe-Biesterfeld Nature College Foundation. She also established NatureWise, an organization which connects elementary students to nature. She is author of several books, including Science, Soul, and the Spirit of Nature: Leading Thinkers on the Restoration of Man and Creation and Dialogue with Nature.


Manu Busschots

Manu Busshots2Manu Busschots is sociologist, coach and initiator of Klimaatgesprekken, the Dutch initiative of the Carbon Conversations. Carbon Conversations is cited by the Guardian newspaper as one of the top solutions to climate change.  Carbon Conversations is a series of six meetings in which participants address climate change in a different way, focusing on values, emotions, lifestyle and identity as well as the basic facts of emissions.






Pelle Berting

Pelle BertingPelle Berting aims to build a strong and effective climate movement. After his studies in conflict resolution and sociology, he began his career as a conflict transformation practitioner at Critical Mass Foundation. Realizing the urgency of the climate crisis, he started campaign work at Greenpeace, facilitated sustainable activism workshops, and helped set up the fossil free divestment movement. Following the Greenpeace creed that we need to spark “a billion acts of courage”, he currently organizes people-powered campaigns and delivers training and facilitation to the emerging climate movement in the Netherlands.