Will we be bystanders?

XR Psychologists write.

XR Psychologists invite all readers of The Psychologist to join us in Hyde Park on 9 April at 10am to come together as psychological practitioners in action for the climate and ecological emergency.

The climate crisis continues unabated. The next two to three years are critical. As psychologists, we believe we must unite in solidarity with Extinction Rebellion, to demonstrate our concern for the future of all life. The strategy for Extinction Rebellion’s latest rebellion is community mobilisation, and we hope to mobilise you – our concerned colleagues and friends. Research shows that it takes engagement of 3.5% of the population to kick-start the process of change and we are asking that we all participate to add our support in reaching that crucial number.

It’s interesting to note that the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology’s list of what Practitioner Psychologists can do about the climate and ecological emergency does not mention ‘take action’ [Editor's note: Although see updated statement]. As psychological practitioners we know the importance of community, of social justice and of mitigating distress. If we do not come together within the community of our profession, to call out and act against the social injustices being perpetrated on the global south and the planetary distress being perpetuated due to our country’s climate inaction, we will be bystanders. This positioning of the BPS is in stark contrast with the editor of the Lancet who has stated that ‘doctors and all health professionals have a responsibility and obligation to engage in all kinds of non-violent social protest to address the climate emergency’ to protect humanity from climate and ecological breakdown.

Neutrality within psychology can no longer be a position that fits within our moral psychological framework. To quote Desmond Tutu, ‘if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor’. So, will you join us in action and protect the wellbeing of people today and generations to come? We’d love for you to make a commitment to attend, so save the date! Help us as a professional community be a voice for action in tackling the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

What to do now? If you are keen to be involved (and we hope you are) please join us at Hyde Park on the 9 April. If you would like more information, please contact us via xrpsychologists.co.uk/contact/.

We in XR Psychologists are clinical psychologists, educational psychologists, trainee psychologists, assistant psychologists, counselling psychologists, forensic psychologists, research psychologists, psychotherapists, psychological therapists, counsellors and more; we refuse to be bystanders, will you?

In love and rage,
XR Psychologists

Editor's note: For more on climate action, see this 2020 piece by Rosie Jones, and a 2021 letter

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