Fires. Floods. Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Unbearably hot days. All of these weather events are intensifying due to climate change, which is a phenomenon causing gradual but dangerous warming of the planet. Climate change is caused by carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Generally speaking, the phrase “eco-anxiety” describes a long-term worry about environmental damage and the effects it is causing and will cause in the future. Although eco-anxiety can often feel overwhelming, there are tools that you can use to not only ease your eco-anxiety, but also help the planet.
One Step at a Time
Although the thought of the negative effects of climate change can often feel overwhelming, taking small actions can help to ease your worries a bit. Take a cycling trip instead of driving to the local market. Buy a reusable water bottle and ask for it to be used when you order takeaway drinks. Recycle, reuse and compost as often as you can. Downloading Faircado can help you with the “reuse” step. Buying second-hand products is an excellent way to both save money and have a positive impact on the planet. You may find that by doing some of or many of these types of actions, you will feel more empowered and more positive than if you had not. All of these actions are small, but they are easy to do and their positive effects can be large. As more people do these actions, the accumulation of it all will result in a happier and healthier planet.
Get in Touch with Nature
Going for a walk or connecting with nature in some way can be beneficial for your mental health and your overall wellbeing. Studies have shown that spending more time in and around nature can reduce anxiety and improve mood. Once you spend more time in nature, you may find that you are more relaxed, happier and more able to focus your attention on fighting the good fight for the future of our world.
Connect with Others
In general, any type of anxiety can be a very overwhelming and isolating experience, so being around and interacting with other people is an excellent way to find comfort and better process your emotions. Being around others can also more easily enable coordination, organization and commiseration. When you are around other people you can share your concerns with, it can make those worries feel less large and terrifying. It is also an excellent way to coordinate future climate collaborations. Making like-minded friends can add purpose and comfort to your life, which is both grounding and reassuring.
Laugh a Little
Dealing with serious topics can often feel heavy and quite nerve-wracking, but a little bit of humor can go a long way. From time to time, making light of serious situations can be a great way to lighten the mood and better absorb and tackle the situation. There are some great skits, TV series and movies about climate change. The Netflix series Don’t Look Up is a particularly popular option, and has gotten a lot of international media attention.
Vote, Vote, Vote
Voting is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to make a positive change in your community. After all, your vote is your voice. Democratic engagement is not only vital to a healthy and vibrant society, but it also demonstrates its people’s interest in having leaders who represent their interests. When you vote for candidates who are fighting for a more sustainable future, you are helping to elect people who can help make tangible changes to environmental laws and policies at all different levels: from local to federal. Voting for candidates whom you believe in is essential to making positive environmental changes.
We empathize that climate change and its effects are extremely worrying and can be overwhelming. However, we believe in the power of individual and collective actions to win over the looming feelings of eco-anxiety. By taking the steps to ease your worries and organize your thoughts, you will find yourself better suited to handle future eco-anxieties.
For more tips on how to live a more sustainable life, check out our magazine.