Small changes can have a big impact

Annie Mitchell, Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist

David Horrell, Professor of New Testament Studies, Director, Centre for Biblical Studies

Waking up to the planetary health emergency webinar series - Webinar 4

A Global Systems Institute seminar
Date26 November 2020
Time12:30 to 13:30
PlaceOnline Event

Event Information

The profound environmental damage we are inflicting on this planet, our common home, is adversely affecting the health of those alive today. And the damage we have already done will continue to impact on human health and wellbeing for many generations to come. The geo-biological changes we have initiated will persist for many centuries. We are already locked-in to that change. The actions we collectively take in the next few years will not only determine the future for our own species, but the future for the entire biosphere. This is a planetary health emergency.

Join us for this webinar series to learn about and reflect on the most pressing health challenge our species has ever faced. Engage with experts to understand what our individual and collective responsibilities should be and how even small changes may have big effects. The stakes could not be higher. The actions taken by those of us alive today will determine the future health and wellbeing for generations of humanity and the survival of many other species on our planet.

Full details for the series can be found on the event landing page and registration is via Eventbrite.


Waking up to psychological aspects of the climate and environmental emergency: trauma, power, threat and meaning

Annie MitchellClinical psychologist and psychotherapist

Annie Mitchell is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist with an interest in psychological understandings of the links between our environment, social worlds and psychological distress and well-being. She received the British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology MB Shapiro Award in 2018 for distinguished service to the profession, in particular recognising her enthusiasm for bringing community psychology perspectives into professional training and beyond.  Annie was Clinical Director for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, initially at the University of Exeter and latterly at University of Plymouth, where she continues to hold an Honorary Research Fellowship. She set up, a south west peninsula regional research collaboration to help shift health and social care research towards more effective public engagement.

Annie continues to help medical students and trainee clinical psychologists learn about psychological care and physical illness, and about being with death and dying. Until spring 2020, she was clinical psychologist for the Renal Service at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter. She is a mentor for The Point of Care Foundation Schwartz Rounds programme, promoting compassionate care in health care settings. Annie was co-author of an open letter, signed by over 1000 practitioner psychologists in solidarity with medical colleagues, to express deep concern about the climate crisis and its implications for physical and mental health, and demanding immediate and effective action.

Learning outcomes

  • Differentiate the impacts of global climate change on peoples' mental health and well-being at direct, indirect and broad psycho-social levels.
  • Recognise the social and environmental determinants of misery and mental ill-health , including inequality, poverty and trauma, along with the importance of promoting resilient communities.
  • Understand how trauma impacts on peoples' mental health and wellbeing.
  • Know how to mitigate psychological trauma through provision of psycho-social first aid: safety, acceptance, sympathetic social support and information (SASSI).

Behaving and believing

Professor David HorrellProfessor of New Testament Studies. Director, Centre for Biblical Studies, University of Exeter

David is Professor of New Testament Studies and Director of the Centre for Biblical Studies in the University of Exeter’s Department of Theology and Religion. The main focus of his teaching and research is the history and literature of earliest Christianity, and the interpretation of the Christian Bible. From 2006-2009 he led a research project on uses of the Bible in environmental ethics, and has continued an interest in the ways in which biblical texts shape Christian (and post-Christian) attitudes and responses to the environmental crisis.

Learning outcomes:

  • To see examples of how religious and specifically biblical ideas influence perceptions of ourselves and our responsibilities in relation to our environment.
  • To see how visions of the future shape understanding and action in relation to the environmental crisis.
  • To consider how different models of time influence our perceptions (and fears) about the future.

Riptide volume 13: Climate Matters

Climate Matters is the Riptide Journal’s thirteenth volume and was produced and published to coincide with the launch of the ‘Waking up to the planetary health emergency’ 2020 webinar series. A burning issue of our time – the climate crisis – is the central theme of this collection of short stories, poetry, images and science writing. Many of the contributors ponder the links between our relentless drive to consume, our disrespect for the natural world and its disastrous effect on the climate and the survival of humanity. In a range of ways they question the role that capitalism plays and the need for a redefinition of what constitutes a good life. COVID-19’s appearance during the selection process means the pandemic and issues of health – both individual and planetary – play their part in the whole.

Download a pdf copy of this publication here.

Illustrated reading of Marc Woodward’s 'The Rewilding of Stonelands Farm'

The beautifully illustrated reading is available here.


A recording of this session can be found on the GSI YouTube Channel.

OrganizerTim Malone
Waking_up_to_the_planetary_health_emergency__WUTPHE_2020__v2.pdfFlyer - Waking up to the planetary health emergency (632K)
Exeter_Waking_up_series_Behaving_and_believing_compressed.pdfDavid Horrell - presentation (517K)
Waking_up_to_climate_change_Annie_Mitchell_compressed.pdfAnnie Mitchell - presentation (1346K)

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