Feeling anxious about climate change? You’re not alone. Studies show that 55% of people say that climate change impacts their mental health every day, with 61% of those being in the 16 to 34 age bracket. In this blog, we’ll cover some of the key areas of discussion, including defining climate anxiety, spotting symptoms and actions you can take to suppress it.
What is climate anxiety
Climate anxiety, also known as eco-anxiety is when we feel a sense of fear, worry or tension linked to climate change. The root of this type of anxiety is often connected to a clear lack of control over the future of the planet and, in turn, individual safety and well-being.
While most forms of anxiety come from a personal place, climate anxiety is generally more universal and difficult to pinpoint. Due to this, the symptoms of eco-anxiety affect a growing number of people all over the world. For many people, climate anxiety can be crippling, freezing the opportunity for activism and cultivating a sense of hopelessness.
Why is climate anxiety becoming more common?
Here are some key things to look out for if you or someone you know might be feeling climate anxiety:
- A feeling of no control
- A sense of fear
- Frequent feelings of worry and tension
- Doomscrolling on your phone
- Dysfunctionality in day-to-day life
If you’re seeing a friend or family member suffering from these symptoms, it’s always best to talk to them directly. Talking and opening up is always the right path forward.
How to turn eco-anxiety into activism
Focus on the areas in your control
A lack of control may be deeply rooted in your climate anxiety. Activism can provide you with a sense of control that you may have been missing. Join a local group, make the case for sustainable practices in your workplace or protest collectively with other like-minded, passionate activists. While you may not hold the individual power to halt the climate emergency, these important actions are in your sphere of control. Most importantly, this collective effort can have more of an impact on the climate crisis than you may think.
Here are some practical ways and tools you can use to channel anxiety into meaningful climate activism:
- Engage in positive discussions: Join discussions and communities focused on climate action and solutions. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are passionate about making a difference.
- Take small steps: Start with manageable changes in your daily life. Reduce waste, conserve energy, if you can, cycle or walk to nearby destinations, and choose environmentally conscious products. Small actions can accumulate and make a significant impact over time.
- Support more sustainable practices: Support businesses and initiatives that prioritise sustainability. By choosing these products and services, you send a message to the market that sustainability matters.
- Get involved: Consider volunteering for environmental organisations or participating in local clean-up efforts. Active involvement can provide a sense of purpose and empowerment.
- Advocate for change: Write to your local representatives, attend town hall meetings, or participate in climate marches to voice your concerns and advocate for policy changes.
- Educate others: Share your knowledge and passion for climate action with friends and family. Encourage them to take small steps toward a greener lifestyle as well.
- Practice self-care: Remember to take care of your mental and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, and don’t forget to connect with nature.
Climate anxiety is a natural response to the challenges our planet faces, but it doesn’t have to immobilise us. By staying informed, engaging in positive action, and supporting better practices, we can transform our anxiety into meaningful change.