How to cope with eco-anxiety ?

10/03/22

"The water is rising", "Our house is burning", how to deal with all this bad news in an anxious environment?

More than a week after the release of the latest IPCC report, and despite its low media coverage, if you are concerned by environmental issues, you may feel overwhelmed by all the negative information that is flowing. This feeling of distress about climate change affecting our mental health has a name: eco-anxiety or solastalgia.



THE INJUSTICE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

As the latest studies show it, the ones who will be the most impacted by climate change are already the most vulnerable. It includes indigenous communities, children and elders, poor populations or people leaving in small islands or near the coasts. To make it easier: the least responsible and with less resources will be the first affected.
There are many mixed feelings when talking about eco-anxiety such as frustration, anger, fear, sadness, or injustice. How can we not feel powerless in the face of climate change?
Young people in our society tend to feel more and more worried as this anxious state spreads while future becomes unclear. However, all these steps are needed to question and rethink our lifestyles.
Change appears essential, but it can be hard to know where to start. Every change, even small, is useful, but systemic transformations on a larger scale from governments and industries is needed to match the threat of climate change.



TIME FOR ACTION

Policies from the past years in term of ecological action, or inaction, clearly reinforced this feeling of anxiety. We see an over-responsibility put on citizens who can feel helpless carrying this weight on their shoulders.

Adapting our behaviors is part of the solution and is complementary to global actions. It helps tackling negative effects of global warming. Like the hummingbird effect, action is always more effective than inaction, denial, or resignation.

Three levers of action exist to adapt:

- Education on climate change for a better understanding, and to have the tools to adapt our lifestyles.

- Enrich scientific research thanks to testimony to gather data and feed the expertise on the topic of global warming.

- To put pressure on public bodies, politicians, and industrials so that they change their legislation or their production processes to fulfil the commitments limiting global warming and its effects.





ECO EMPATHY

This emotional response as a meaning and by sharing it with others can help dealing with it. The democratization of this feeling illustrates the rise of environmental issues in current topics, highlighting all the issues related to them.
On a more positive note, being concerned in such a context is normal and such concerns ultimately reveal many individual qualities such as strong empathy. Paying attention to what surrounds us, being sensitive to the well-being and health of our environment generates various feelings, and it is then possible to use them to create actions that have a meaningful and positive impact.
Because every action counts, and to start a transition towards more respectful habits, you can follow our tips to commit to a zero-waste lifestyle with #TheSaturdayChallenges.
More global actions are possible, for that you can go through our platform Ask For Change, where we address institutional or industrial actors to urge them for change. https://askforchange.surfrider.eu/

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