Many of us in all age groups are experiencing eco-anxiety. This is not irrational. We are under threat, and we probably feel powerless in the face of likely scenarios as well the worst scenarios.
There is no talking ourselves out of this one. I have spoken to people who have great faith in science saving us, but science cannot do this on its own, we must help. And it is our own actions that can also help us to feel better. Here are a few ideas:
- Get involved with a local movement if you can. These focus on the bigger picture – challenging governments and large international corporations to make changes. These organisations are a great way to meet people of all ages and walks of life, and there will usually be an active group of some sort nearby, however small. A local group in Brighton recently had an excellent samba band in the streets and while the message was very serious and solemn, there was also an exciting and joyous energy around it.
- Do what you can personally to keep your footprint moderate, but don’t give yourself a hard time either. Also don’t be blaming of others as this causes divisions. We are all a bit flawed and that’s OK.
- Talk to other people about your values around this- it’s fine to be honest about your feelings and you may feel less alone.
- Explore places to visit that are nearer to home. I have spoken to a lot of people who feel deprived because of the lack of travel abroad due to the pandemic, but now also because we could be considering less air travel. This does not need to be a bad thing – Britain is beautiful and so is Europe – all within train-travel distance. Of course we will need to travel by air to see loved ones that we cannot reach by train, but it’s all about doing what we can together.
- Keep the hope alive – if we resign ourselves we feel worse. Our ways have created the climate crisis, and our ways can stave off the worst. To act is to feel empowered, and this is good for our mental health.