Getting Real About It: Meeting the psychological and social demands of a world in stress

As part of a forthcoming environmental leadership handbook, Susanne Moser examines the challenges that future environmental leaders will encounter and how these individuals can serve as models to the public.

Moser also describes a number of the crises that loom on the horizon in the event that we fail to successfully address climate change.

Key takeaways from the study:

  • Future environmental leaders will require strong psychological, social and political skills to deal with the human crises that will come with the more difficult environmental challenges to come.

  • Mature leaders will face the whole truth of climate change’s impacts and accept that “better tomorrows” may not come.

  • Grieving about environmental losses together, rather than individually, can be more healing and motivating.
  • Framing the transition to the future environmental reality will help provide a roadmap for people and will carry forward persistence, hope and a commitment to moral action.
  • Leaders will have to help those who are in crisis cope in order to avoid people falling back into resistance, defensiveness and placing blame. Drawing on faith may be a useful strategy.
  • Numerous paradoxes exist among climate issues, but leaders can harness the tension between them in order to deal with them effectively.
  • Future leaders need to demand accountability for everyone’s role in previous unsustainability, as well as accord amnesty to those having difficulty living with their role.
  • Peaceful conflict resolution and promoting non-violence will become increasingly important – and difficult – as frustrations and fears rise.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user USACEpublicaffairs


Date: 2012
Authors: Susanne Moser
Organization: Sage Publications
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing
Organization: Sage Publications
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing

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