Chances are, you have either heard about or experienced some bad news about the environment this week. Dire predictions from scientists. Extreme weather. Rare animals dying out. In a world where we seldom hear good news, the terrible truth of our planetary direction is frightening.
Even if you’re doing everything you can to help, the vastness of the problem can lead to an unusual side effect—eco anxiety.
Feeling anxious about the future of your children, or even life itself, is understandable. We have just a few short years to turn ourselves around and head in a more sustainable direction, and those predictions are met with eye rolls by anyone with power to do so.
If you feel anxiety taking over your lives, here are a few simple things you can do to cope.
Don’t Give Up
When you’re doing everything you can think of to stop climate change and it still feels like we’re all sliding over the cliff, it’s tempting to just give up and stick your head in the sand. After all, we’re all going to die thanks to the people who aren’t willing to try, so why bother at all?
Doing something, even small things like changing out your light bulbs or hanging your laundry to dry can have a big impact. Every dollar you spend sends a signal to corporations on what you want to see more of, and just demonstrating an interest in the environment can have a ripple effect in your community.
Prep for disasters
If you live close to a hurricane zone, concern about climate change is naturally much higher. Preparing yourself for the possibility of future disasters can help ease some of the anxiety. This could mean practicing evacuation routes, having food and water in stock, or making your home better prepared for disasters.
For most of us, eco anxiety is a manageable part of our lives. If it is effecting your relationships, your job, or your general well being, it’s time to seek help. Talking with a professional can help give you the tools to cope and feel better about our changing world.
It’s not too late to save the planet, and people like Greta Thunberg are living proof that one person can make a difference. If you’re worried about the environment, take steps to help slow climate change down by speaking out, and lowering your own carbon footprint. There’s a lot we can do.