Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Climate Distress: Helping Ourselves - Healing our Planet, with Harvey Skinner and Susan Harris

On the 20th March, 2023, the UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change released its 2023 final climate warning Synthesis Report underscoring that we face a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all. People across the world are suffering profound mental and emotional distress due to concern about the future of our planet. Indeed, a recent 2023 National survey of young Canadians age 16-25 found 75% reported the future is frightening and that climate change impacts their overall mental health. Climate Distress is now a major impediment for personal wellbeing and collective action to address global warming.

This seminar, honouring Earth Day 2023, will:

  • provide an overview of the concepts and research on climate distress,
  • explore through a reflection exercise how climate change is affecting each of us personally,
  • lead participants in Earth-based practices for fostering self-care and resiliency, and
  • discuss what we can do individually and collectively as action steps for ‘helping ourselves’ and ‘healing our planet’.

Speaker Profiles

Dr. Harvey Skinner is Professor Emeritus of Psychology & Global Health and was Founding Dean (2006-2016) of the Faculty of Health, York University. In addition, he is a Senior Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research. Previously, he was Chair of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto (now the Dalla Lana School of Public Health). Harvey is a Registered Psychologist in Ontario and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (FCAHS). He is placed in the Top 2% World Scientists by the Stanford University worldwide analysis with respect to citations and impact metrics. Harvey is an internationally recognized educator and scholar (7 books, over 150 articles) on what motivates individuals, organizations and communities to change, which is detailed in his 2002 book Promoting Health Through Organizational Change). Harvey has a longstanding interest in peacebuilding and global health for all. A landmark article was published in The Lancet 2005 on ‘Promoting Arab and Israeli Cooperation: A Model for Peacebuilding through Health Initiatives’.

Currently, Harvey co-leads the new Wellness and Self-Care Lab at the Dahdaleh Institute. His focus is promoting global mental health drawing on Eastern, Indigenous and Western worldviews and practices. He has completed advanced training in Qi Gong (Tai Chi) practices with master teachers Lee Holden, Teja Bell and Robert Peng, as well as training in Capacitar body-based healing practices with Dr Patricia Cane. Currently, he is leading online sessions for ‘Stress Busting: 30 Minutes of Magical Practices’ open to students, staff/faculty and the community ( At a personal level, Harvey maintains a regular practice of Mindfulness Meditation and Qi Gong. His passion is ‘healing ourselves, healing others, healing our world’.

Susan Harris is a Community Fellow at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University where she co-leads the Wellness and Self-Care Lab. She has a Honours BA in Psychology from the University of Windsor, an MSW from the University of Toronto and is a registered social worker in Ontario. Susan has worked with issues of mental health, abuse, and trauma for over 40 years. Most recently she was Director of Programs at Catholic Family Services Peel Dufferin (now retired). Susan co-developed the Mindfulness Based Trauma Counselling Group Program for people who have experienced abuse and trauma. She has been cultivating her meditation practice for over 25 years through retreats, daily practice, and study, primarily in the Vipassana tradition. Susan completed the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification training program led by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.

Currently, Susan is leading a monthly 3-hour sangha group in the GTA, as well as teaching weekly mindfulness and compassion sessions for staff, students, and community members through the Stress Busting series housed at York University ( Susan is keen to explore bringing the teachings on mindfulness and compassion to meeting the distress caused by environmental disruption and climate crisis. She has a particular interest in combatting white supremacy and engaging in the inner work of racial healing.

Register below and join us on Tuesday, April 18 at noon.


Registration for this event has closed.

Thank you for your interest in this seminar. 

Please find the recap and recording here.

The event is finished.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Tuesday, April 18, 2023
  • Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


QR Code