15 August 2019

Australian psychologists and psychology organisations call for climate and biodiversity emergency declaration

We are committed to safeguarding human wellbeing and are aware that the climate crisis is already impacting adversely on the psychological health and wellbeing of Australian citizens. We recognise our responsibility to tell the truth about the seriousness of the climate crisis and to call for action.


Working with the devastating impact of trauma on people’s lives is central to the work of many of us. People are anxious, fearful and depressed about the uncertain and insecure future unfolding, and this is heightened by the lack of serious action. Severe weather events such as floods, storms, drought and bushfires, are leading to trauma, conflict, dislocation and suicide.

We are particularly concerned at the impact on children growing up with ever-increasing danger, and with parents in a state of chronic stress. We risk trauma becoming a ‘normal’ part of childhood experience. We are concerned at the inevitable escalation of large-scale trauma within Australia, and globally, unless governments respond appropriately to the threat of climate collapse.

The latest IPCC report in August 2019 has been clear that the impacts of climate change on land-based systems will be significant, threatening food and water security for the most vulnerable. Climate scientists are becoming increasingly alarmed at the impending crisis and the absent or weak responses by governments. They are questioning the adequacy of the Paris goals to protect humanity.

On 30 June 2019, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the world is facing a “grave” emergency in the form of climate change. “Climate disruption … is progressing even faster than the world’s top scientists have predicted.”

Urgent action gives us the best possible chance of averting ecological disaster. We call on all Australian federal, state, and territory parliaments and all local councils to declare a climate emergency and mobilise society-wide resources at sufficient scale and speed to protect human civilisation and the species and eco-systems on which we depend.


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This petition was developed in consultation with the Climate Emergency Declaration Campaign and Psychology for a Safe Climate