What is the connection between human rights, the state of the environment and psychology?

General Human Rights/Climate Change

It is a fact (see reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports: https://www.ipcc.ch

  • climate and environmental disruption have reached a critical point
  • Choices we make now (and have already made) will have repercussions for generations to come
  • Those who have contributed least to climate destruction will be most directly affected

The IPPC Report: Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC spelled out some societal changes required to meet targets set to limit the impact of climate disruption — these are closely connected with psychology – behaviour change and social relationships – and human rights – changes required will only be acceptable if they are seen to be fair and respect everyone’s interests. 

Addressing climate change is compatible with addressing human rights:
Human rights comprise internationally agreed norms that align with ambitions of poverty eradication, sustainable development, and the reduction of vulnerability (Caney, 2010; Fleurbaey et al., 2014; OHCHR, 2015). In addition to defining substantive rights (such as to life, health, and shelter) and procedural rights (such as to information and participation), human rights instruments prioritise the rights of marginalized groups, children, vulnerable and indigenous persons, and those discriminated against on grounds such as gender, race, age or disability (OHCHR, 2017). Several international human rights obligations are relevant to the implementation of climate actions and consonant with UNFCCC undertakings in the areas of mitigation, adaptation, finance, and technology transfer (Knox, 2015; OHCHR, 2015; Humphreys, 2017)”.(1.1.2 Page 55)

Psychology Addressing Human Rights/Climate Change

  • International Summit on Psychology and Global Health: Focus on Climate CHange
  • Climate Change and Human Trafficking

Psychologists Addressing Human Rights / Climate Change

  • Linda Stegg: One of the lead authors of the I.5 report is the environmental psychologist professor Linda Stegg, who is one of a growing band of psychologists working alongside the climate scientists and human rights professionals who have been developing a strategy to respond to the emerging crisis.