Gail Hochachka (Part 2) – The Psychology of Climate Change: Understanding the Causes and Finding Solutions to the Great Challenge of Our Time

Climate change researcher Gail Hochachka

Climate change researcher, sustainable development expert, and activist Gail Hochachka works on the front lines of climate change research, asking—and answering—questions like: How does the way we make meaning, at all our different stages of development, relate to the ways we act on climate change? How can we foster more engagement with climate change? Is climate action scalable? And how are we going to show up for the people who are facing the greatest impacts? So far, in searching for solutions, we have largely neglected tapping into the human dimensions of the problem—the ways we understand climate change, the ways we respond, and the ways we can communicate together and make decisions about how to act. Herein lies the potential to come up with more viable solutions than we have so far, and this is the focus of Gail’s current research.

Climate change is such a hugely complex and also emotional issue, it is understandably hard for anyone to wrap their head around it, Gail tells us, but the good news is that research is showing that taking action—in whatever way seems most appropriate and meaningful to each individual—is scalable, and that there are ways, which Gail outlines, of creating meaningful communication between people who have very different understandings, to where people can actually come to a place of agreement on how to move forward. Gail’s deep understanding of integral theory and stages of psychological development, combined with her extensive experience in sustainable development, gives her a uniquely insightful perspective on ways of confronting the climate challenge. Gail relates that, surprisingly, a positive way to look at climate change has come to light, which is that climate change is actually presenting us with an opportunity—an opportunity to become more conscious about the way we live, to the great benefit of people and planet. Recorded January 18, 2023.

“We know that individuals collectively created the problem of climate change…but when it comes to solutions, we don’t honor that we individuals count.”

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Topics & Time Stamps – Part 2

  • Research shows that a sense of the spiritual arises in later stage development (01:40)
  • At later stage development, climate change presents us with an opportunity to be more conscious as to how we live our lives (03:06)
  • Climate change scientists only represent a narrow bandwidth of psychological development (05:43)
  • Research shows, even if we come from different understandings, we can have conversations and find ways to act that we agree upon (07:41)
  • Psychic benefits and how later stage individuals show up in every group (09:26)
  • What brought Gail into this field of study and research? (13:08)
  • Is how women approach climate change different than how men do? (18:30)
  • Social holons and sub holons: the group’s center of gravity will either grow you or limit you (20:53)
  • Mentors and the paradox of success (23:06)
  • How predictable are the outcomes of our changing environment? (25:26)
  • We have the physio sphere, the biosphere & the noosphere—it is the noosphere that would be the first to go (27:28)
  • How are we going to show up for people who are feeling the greatest impacts? (31:55)
  • Double exposure, overlays, looking at communities facing multiple issues: which part of this ball of yarn are we going to pull? (33:12)
  • How to avoid the single issue fallacy, single cause fallacy, and single solution fallacy, in order to maintain civilization (35:27)
  • The extent to which you cross your own value action gap, sustainability does scale—there is an enactment in this moment that has ripple effects (36:36)

Resources & References – Part 2

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Finding One’s Own Soul-Centric Climate Action [Live Online Course]

with Gail Hochachka & Lisa Gibson, August 16th and 23rd, 12 pm Mountain Time

Climate change researcher Gail Hochachka

Gail Hochachka, B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D. works with the human dimensions of climate change using a transdisciplinary, integral approach. Her work focuses on understanding how people make meaning of climate change and how to engage with diverse groups towards a shared sense of the climate challenge. Her research has been published in various academic journals and has been used to support non-profit, private, and city actors in advancing climate action. Prior to this, Gail did her PhD at the University of Oslo on how climate change adaptation can account for meaning-making stages in diverse social groups and be carried out in a transformative manner, with fieldwork in Guatemala. Gail also has substantial previous NGO experience working in sustainable development in Latin America and Africa, and co-founded Integral Without Borders Institute. She is based in Vancouver, Canada,, and on her Recent Publications webpage, you can find a number of articles she drew from in this podcast:

Podcast produced by Vanessa Santos and Show Notes by Heidi Mitchell

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