Tackling Climate Anxiety?

Article by Isabel Key and Eric Steinberger.

Let’s take a break from the science, & focus on mental wellbeing.

Some of the predicted impacts of climate change are scary [11]. Mental images of worsening droughts, wildfires, tornadoes, mass migration of people, war… [11,12]. It’s bad. These concerns can make people sad & anxious – this is known as “climate anxiety” [5]. Many people are considering not having children because they are afraid their children will suffer due to climate change [13]. How can we both be honest about the situation & be happy?

Look at the POSITIVES too. Here are a few: the number of people in extreme poverty has more than halved since 1990 [8]. Average life expectancy has increased from 32 years in 1900, to 72 years in 2015 [9]. Climate change causes suffering, & will hit people who are already vulnerable the worst [10]. But visualising this compared to an alternative, better world, can give us something to aim for & motivate us to act to improve the world [7].

TALKING to people who feel a similar way to you can be comforting & empowering. Finding these people can be difficult, depending on where you live & your individual situation, but climate strikes are surely a good start!

COUNSELLORS are people with expertise in mental health, who you can talk to without being judged, & to gain advice on how to help yourself be in a better frame of mind. The process is confidential, so no-one has to know if you use counselling [1]. You may be able to find counselling through your school, university, workplace, privately, or online.

Part of climate anxiety comes from feeling powerless to help [5]. But you really can make a difference! Such as by educating yourself, raising awareness in others, changing your lifestyle, protesting [6], & choosing your career to help fight climate change (see a previous posts)!

We wish you all the best, & send you strength.

References

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