Translation of the press release by the Psychologists & Psychotherapists for Future regarding the ARD annual review

Dear journalists, distinguished editors of the ARD TV studio,

we (Psychologists & Psychotherapists for Future* – Psy4F) watched your ARD annual review 2020 on 19.12.2020. It begins promisingly: “As the world celebrates the New Year, no one has any idea how incisive it will be. 2020 has demanded a lot from us. It put our cooperation to the test: Annual Review 2020”. And in fact, the themes of the year are taken up vividly and sensitively deepened on the basis of individual fates.

Liu Pei’en from Wuhan, China, talks about his father’s perhaps avoidable death. Intensive care nurse Barbara from the Upper Palatinate pasture describes her work in the intensive care unit until the death of her Corona patient. In Markneukirchen, instrument makers fear for their traditional craftsmanship. The President of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, speaks impressively. The violent death of George Floyd and the Black Lifes Matter movement are heard.

As Psy4F, we stand behind the goals of the Fridays-for-future movement and bring our expertise into the discourse. 2020 was another special “climate year”, the consequences we are already clearly feeling, also and especially in Germany – in SWR this was summarized in under 60 seconds on 17.11.2020: the forest death in Germany accelerated, there were huge forest fires in California, in Siberia and in Australia. The Amazon rainforest has been deforested more than ever before. Greenland ice and permafrost melt inexorably. We have already arrived at an earth heating of 1.2°.

At the same time, the Paris climate agreement saw its fifth anniversary and it has become clear on several occasions that the current measures cannot achieve the objective of limiting the heating of the earth to 1.5°, despite all the rhetoric, all the promises, all the small steps that have been taken and communicated as milestones.

The climate crisis is constantly advancing and natural disasters will not only happen more frequently in the future; vast areas of land will no longer be habitable. In addition to physical illnesses such as asthma, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders will also increase sharply. The millions of climate refugees will lead to social unrest and wars.

Of course, the Corona pandemic in 2020 has been particularly impactful, and it certainly feels more immediate than the climate crisis at the moment. But that is precisely the problem: the climate crisis is no less important, it is not waiting for the end of the Corona pandemic, until we have time to deal with it again. The studioM Monitor broadcast of 26th Nov. 2020 has already mentioned how the solutions for the Corona pandemic could be used to deal with the climate crisis and how we have failed so far.

Here we need you as a journalist – as with other unpleasant topics that we otherwise repress.

The journalist Sara Schumann pointed out in an open letter only in September of this year that “too few” journalists are “aware” of “how much this crisis is threatening our own future in concrete and immediate terms”.

Unlike most citizens, you have the opportunity to name, explain, move forward, change issues so that the climate crisis is mitigated, limiting its worst effects. In order to do this, it is essential to state clearly how bad the climate crisis is; it is necessary for social discourse and political orientation that you report what it looks like and what it will look like in 10, 20, at the latest in 30 years, if not taken now and immediately.

The majority of the population is already justifiably concerned about the climate crisis, but the steps are not enough so far and the consequences are already acute – as e.g. the issue of nano on ARD Alpha on 08.12. made clear. Report on this – and above all show concrete possibilities for action for your audience! Help to break the collective helplessness and inaction so that we still have a chance to avert the greatest catastrophic consequences of the climate crisis.

Just as it has been possible to educate a large part of the population and arouse the justified fear of the Corona pandemic, so does awareness and fear of the climate crisis to motivate us all to act.

The popular support for this is very high in surveys (see e.B. DBU, 2020 Link: https://www.dbu.de/2985ibook82907_38647_.html)

That is why we ask you to clearly identify the climate crisis and its current effects and future consequences in a review of the year, in particular a public broadcaster, and to identify appropriate steps for action. We, all the people of Germany, need you so that we do not forget and displace, as was also mentioned .B in the broadcast of buten & within 6.12.2020.

We would ask you to report more and more widely in all formats on the climate crisis and the ways in which we can cope!

Yours sincerely,

Bianca Rodenstein, Verena Kantrowitsch, Georg Adelmann, Anita Habel, Monika Krimmer and Katharina van Bronswijk

for the Psychologists  Psychotherapists for Future Germany

* Psy4F: As psychologists and psychotherapists, we also see ourselves as having a responsibility to contribute to this enormous challenge with our expertise.

For many years, various international psychological and medical faculties have been researching the connections between climate change and psychology / psychotherapy. The relevant questions include.B. dealing with displacement and denial, encouraging behavioural changes or coping with psychological stress, as well as adequate climate communication. We gather this expertise and support activists and other relevant groups.