Conference to tackle climate anxiety

Conference to tackle climate anxiety

 Unique program for carers, communicators and educators

The unique challenge of tackling anxiety about global warming is the main subject of an online conference from 30th July to 1st August.

The conference includes talks by leading psychotherapists, psychologists, doctors, researchers, Indigenous voices and emergency chaplains.

The date of 1 August is significant, marking one year since the beginning of the 2019 ‘Black Summer’ bushfire season.

The Reverend Dr Stephen Robinson is the National Disaster Recovery Officer of the Uniting Church Assembly and the Senior Chaplain of the NSW Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network.  Stephen coordinated the chaplaincy response to the Black Summer bushfires in NSW. His experience ranges from disasters overseas to the chaplaincy response to the 2014 hostage crisis in Martin Place.

In his keynote address, he’ll be focussing on bushfires and other disaster events and climate change.

“The fire season of last summer was the most extreme and extensive in Australia’s history.  Our chaplains were constantly called upon – to the greatest pastoral need – from September 2019 to March 2020. 

“Deeply-affected residents and evacuees were only just starting to account for their losses when COVID-19 shut down much of the recovery assistance and community support.  It will be years before many of these people reach a point of a holistic new normal,” he said.

“My session will touch on the trends in disasters driven by climate change and the growing human and pastoral impact.

“As important as it is to look to the data around climate change and weather impact, it’s vital that we don’t forget to look to the very high cost for the most vulnerable people in our society who will be the most heavily affected.”

Clinical Supervisor and Psychotherapist, Merle Conyer will deliver the keynote ‘Responding to children and young people who are experiencing anxiety about our warming world.’

“The session will support caregivers to engage with and support children and young people who are experiencing anxiety and worry about climate change,” she said.

“Eco-anxiety responses can be varied and may become amplified when children and young people feel uncertain and unsupported. This is where adults have an important role to play, to be the people they can turn towards for help with this.”

The Uniting Church has been vocal on the need for climate action since 1977 and was the first major institution in Australia to support the climate strike in August 2019. The conference is also supported by Common Grace.

WHAT: Climate Pastoral Care Conference

WHERE: Online

WHEN: Thursday 30 July (7-9pm), Friday 31 July (12-6pm) Saturday 1 August (10am-2pm)

BOOKING: Tickets are $30 and can be booked at Humanitix.

Keynote addresses:

Dr Rebecca Huntley – social researcher and author

Merle Conyer – Clinical Supervisor and psychotherapist

Dr Sally Gillespie – Psychologist and author

Brooke Prentis – CEO of Common Grace andWakka Wakka woman

Rev Dr Stephen Robinson – Senior Chaplain of the NSW Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network

Dr Byron Smith – Anglican pastor andecological ethicist

Krystyna Kidson – Psychologist and resilience coach

For more information, please contact:   

Uniting media 0457 568 938 media@uniting.org.au

Steph O’Connell 0439 600 312 media@nswact.uca.org.au

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