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  • Tai Ryan

Eco-Anxiety is a Real Thing




Will it work…What if it doesn’t…We’re all doomed anyway… Am I doing enough… I’m too small to make change… It’s such a mammoth task, where do I start… How dare you buy something new… Why aren’t the government and big business doing more… There are too many skeptics… I need to be rich to make a difference… Oh look, another extreme weather event… What will the planet be like for my grandchildren… 


Ahh, hello anxiety. Or more accurately, eco-anxiety. An anxiety that burns through me at least once a week, and maybe even a little more frequently now that I’ve quit my full-time job to focus on running eco-friendly events!  


The American Psychology Association (APA) describes eco-anxiety as “the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change and the associated concern for one's future and that of next generations”.


It seems I’m not alone in all my eco-anxiety feels. According to the Climate Council, 75% of Australian voters are worried about climate change, while another global study by The Lancet found 59% of people aged 16 to 25 are extremely worried. (I found a few more but I won’t list them, it won’t be helpful for those stress levels!) 


And why wouldn’t we be, when we have people like the planet’s biggest superhero, naturalist Sir David Attenborough saying: “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon,” and environmental scientists continue to strongly warn we’re so close to reaching many catastrophic, and irreversible, climate change tipping points


So what can we do about tackling our eco-anxiety, as well as the environmental issues the world faces?  


Take Action - Focus on what you can do in your immediate surroundings. Improve your home and office’s energy efficiency, rethink your daily transportation modes, reduce your waste, compost your scraps, or join an action group. 


Take A Break - If you’re like me with your head in all the climate-related social pages and news sites, then turn it off for a bit! Do something fun with friends, take a walk or even a nap. 


Talk It Out - How good is a chin wag?! Talking to and sharing your concerns with friends, colleagues, family or people in like-minded social groups can have a positive and powerful effect in helping us process thoughts and feelings. 


Ironically, the day I sat down to write this coincides with February’s new moon.  A time to reflect and reset… so maybe that’s what I need to do. Just keep doing my bit for the planet and know that even if it doesn’t change all of humanity, it may change the life of one person or animal, and to me, that’s enough. 


*** 

My emails and DMs are always open to discuss all things sustainability, but I’m not medically trained so if you or someone you know needs immediate or professional help, contact Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline 13 11 14. 


If your business is looking to make a change towards a more sustainable future but is not quite sure where to start, please get in touch.


Image: Kyle Glenn

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