By Kate Connor (she/they)
In recent years, words like “global warming”, “sustainability”, and “carbon footprint” are on the tip of everyone’s tongues. The increasing global concern for the impact decades of bad habits has had on the environment has introduced another popular term – climate anxiety.
What is climate anxiety? It is defined as “a chronic fear of environmental doom” by the American Psychological Association (APA). The feeling itself is associated with guilt, grief, and anxiety over the current state our planet.
It feels overwhelming, and, as one person, it can also feel quite hopeless at times. However, there are ways to ease these feelings while also putting your best carbonless foot forward!
We’ll start with the simpler ways to ease climate anxiety.
UNFOLLOW – Is there an account or person in particular that constantly triggers anxiety about environmental affairs? A simple fix, to ease the mind slightly, is to unfollow! However, do not mistake this for burying your head in the sand – the right amount of awareness is good, but becoming overwhelmed is no help to anyone.
DONATE – A good and easy way to make a contribution and feel involved with the climate change effort is to give money to a charity rallying for environmental changes. A small donation can go a long way. It helps changes to be made at the top, which will have a more significant effect on the environment as a whole. This will be a way to stay informed, which will, in turn, ease climate anxiety as well.
COMMUNICATE – Climate anxiety is something that many people struggle with, and a good way to ease it is simply talking to one another! Friends and family may have similar concerns, and talking about them can help it feel less scary. Plus, the internet is full of online communities of people who feel the same. There are even specific “climate cafes” – designed to link similar people with similar anxieties.
Furthermore, bigger steps that can be taken for even more climate involvement.
TAKE ACTION – Protests, rallies, and marches are a great way to become immersed in the climate movement and also a perfect way to meet like-minded individuals.
EDUCATE – It is important to be knowledgeable about what you are involved in and fighting for – so educate yourself! Make sure that your research is valid and is from reputable sources, and with your research, you will be able to educate others to be inspired to join the climate fight.
BE THE CHANGE – Be who you want to see. Become a role model, do what you want to see others do and become an example of a good climate activist for others to follow.