“We need to address all of our emotions about the climate crisis, not only for our mental wellbeing but also to remove roadblocks to action. If we can’t look at how climate change makes us feel—along with the dilemmas and difficult choices we face—we can’t solve it.”

– Dr. Renee Lertzman,
Founder of Project InsideOut

Project InsideOut seeks to create a new mindset for engaging communities on our urgent climate and sustainability issues. We are an emerging global community that unites activists with clinical psychologists and evidence-based research to drive sustainable behavior change for our planet. We bring together the expertise and creativity of clinical psychology and environmental activism to accelerate global change. We are dedicated to providing practical tools based on best practices and wisdom honed over years of clinical practice that activists and advocates can apply directly to their work.

The world is facing unprecedented challenges—from the global health crisis and climate change to racial injustice and political uncertainty. Yet, despite our intentions, resources, dedication, and time, our efforts are not as effective as they could be. When we default to mindsets, practices, and strategies that are based on models of educating, cheerleading, or correcting behavior, we overlook a massive body of work that explains the primary reasons for our inaction on these shared existential threats. People don’t fail to engage because they lack care, concern, or education, but because of the complex psychological and social factors of encountering massive issues that can evoke both overwhelm and difficult emotions. The cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of these issues are impediments, as much as other barriers like access to resources, information, infrastructure, and policy.

Project InsideOut’s theory of change is based on radically resetting the role of affect, relationships, and conversations as the primary drivers of transformative, scalable change.

Based on the pioneering work of Renée Lertzman, Project InsideOut serves as both an online informational resource and a forum for sharing expertise and insights. Renée came to this work in 1989, at a university lecture on climate change. Haunted by the photos of beached whales and starved bears, scorched forests, and parched farmlands, all punctuated by graphs, she thought that surely she couldn’t be the only one flooded with such difficult emotions about what seemed to her like the end of the world as we know it. Yet no one was tackling this aspect of climate change. Since then, it has been her mission to bring psychologists together in the service of our planet. Her work with PIO applies the latest research and best practices in psychology to help people on the journey from despair, passivity, and denial toward courageous, more impactful environmental action.

Meet our team