Psychologist Suzie Burke is working on a "tip sheet" for people emotionally distressed by climate change and their fears of catastrophe. When completed, the list will be accessible through the Australian Psychological Society website.
She says there is a growing acceptance that "global warming is inevitable". "(It) will be fairly catastrophic, is bringing up strong emotions in people: generally anxiety and helplessness and disillusionment."
Pentecostal Pastor Danny Nalliah, from the Catch the Fire Ministry, says...They're saying to me, 'You guys have to do something'. There is a widespread sense of oppression about what's going to happen in the future if this weather continues," he says. "It is being seen as a sign, that we're an abundant nation that has abandoned God. That's what the God-fearing farmers of Victoria are saying to me: 'Danny, as a nation we have to repent and pray.' "
Pastor Nalliah's ministry has organised a multidenominational prayer meeting on Australia Day. Thousands of Christians are expected to ask the Almighty for miraculous help on a range of matters.
Climate change didn't get much of a mention in the front-page coverage of the prayer meeting. The attention went to Prime Minister John Howard's DVD message of goodwill to Catch the Fire. The prayer meeting will be the starting point of a 40-day nationwide fast. The idea is to get God's attention focused on fixing the climate.
The fast will end in the second week of March, about the time scientists are predicting the drought-causing El Nino system will lose its grip and we'll see some decent rain.
As for Suzie Burke's tip sheet: "The main thing is for people to talk about their anxieties and to find constructive ways to help solve the problem. And there's a lot of advice about how to live in a more environmentally friendly way. The challenge there is for people to accept that it may take a while to see results. So it becomes a matter of faith."
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