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Covington, C. (2014). Thinking about climate change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives edited by Sally Weintrobe Routledge, London, 2012, New Library of Psychoanalysis; 255 pp; £29.99 paperback. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 95(1):176-180.

(2014). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 95(1):176-180

Thinking about climate change: Psychoanalytic and Interdisciplinary Perspectives edited by Sally Weintrobe Routledge, London, 2012, New Library of Psychoanalysis; 255 pp; £29.99 paperback

Review by:
Coline Covington

The trouble with accepting that there is climate change and that it is threatening our environment as we know it is what we can do about it, if anything.

In Sally Weintrobe's new collection of essays, Engaging with Climate Change, this is the central question that lies like a pervasive shadow behind each essay. Weintrobe has brought together 23 writers from different professional disciplines - psychoanalysis, sociology, political science, anthropology and biology - to map the psychodynamics of climate change and, in particular, our difficulties in accepting it. The struggle to tolerate depressive anxiety is at the heart of the issues that climate change presents us with and is also reflected in the essays themselves which seem to pitch from generalizations and repetitive psychoanalytic explanations to more nuanced considerations.

The principal difficulty that is highlighted throughout the essays is the basic anxiety that climate change causes us. It confronts us, first of all, with change which is by its very nature difficult for most of us to manage even in the best of circumstances. But the nature of the change is also difficult for we are presented with a very different world view from the one with which many of us have grown up - a world view in which we have conceived of the world as a relatively homeostatic and reliable environment, subject to the vagaries of weather. Galileo's demonstrations that the world is round created huge resistance as did Einstein's theory of relativity.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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