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Climate anxiety describes the collective fear of dread collating in eco-conscious individuals, as society becomes more aware of the climate crisis. Whilst it is important to be aware of environmental change, we must be able to remove ourselves from climate change issues. If not, we find ourselves paralysed in an anxious rut, powerless to make a change. We all have an individual responsibility to make a difference, however, if we cannot remove ourselves from the issues our planet faces then we will start struggling to enjoy the present.
Young people, in particular, suffer from eco-anxiety. Many youths feel uncertain and scared for the future; it no secret their lives will be seriously impacted by climate change. Whilst these feelings are valid, we should not let these anxieties dictate our lives and restrict our enjoyment.
Let’s explore some methods of coping with climate anxiety so we can make the most of the new year.
It can be scary to face the reality of the climate crisis. However, reading books that explain how and why our world is changing can provide you with well-researched tips on how to make a difference. This will give you a sense of control over the situation, as you know you are doing the best you can for the planet. Understanding the truth about the environmental changes we are experiencing can help you better engage in debate. You will have proper information and facts to use in discussion, rather than just opinions. This way, everyone learns, not just you!
There is No Planet B (2019) - by Mike Berners Lee
An easy-to-read and entertaining book that simultaneously provides hard facts and evidence of why we need change now.
Hot Money (2021) by Naomi Klien
An insightful look into how capitalism and consumerism are intertwined with climate change.
Consumed (2021) by Aja Barber
A text focused on the role of consumerism on our climate, great for those particularly interested in sustainable fashion.
Spread your wisdom
Share your climate knowledge with friends, family, and loved ones. Encourage them to make changes to their lifestyle to help the planet. Use your newfound knowledge as a talking point to open discussions with people around you and question institutions and politicians. Education is the best way to encourage people to make positive changes.
Select what you share
Instagram and other social media is a great way to spread the word on important issues and raise awareness, but there is a difference between performative, passive sharing, and proactive and educated action. Ensure the resources you are sharing are accurate and based on proper research so they are truly able to help people educate themselves. Sharing posts on your story for the sake of it is as good as doing nothing. When we see something interesting online it can be tempting to share it with our followers, but in order to keep them engaged, we need to review what we repost and make sure it is likely to lead to action/self-education.
Don't expect too much from yourself
Make realistic goals and be proud of yourself for making small yet meaningful changes. It is good to be aware of the bigger picture but sometimes it can get overwhelming. Whilst your own actions are incredibly important, it is not all down to you. Instead of spending your energy on feeling nervous about the future, channel your fears into action. Pressure larger cooperations to alter their business models to favour our planet or email your local MP demanding they address the climate crisis in their policies.
Manage your climate news intake
It is important to be aware of environmental news, but it’s vital to be able to switch off to protect our mental health. Allow yourself time away from news and social media to enjoy life without thinking about the future. Young people who have grown up with social media allowing them to constantly find out more information might find it especially hard to switch off from devices. Free yourself and don’t let technology take over your life.
Buy sustainable gifts
If you don’t want to moan at your friends and family about switching to eco-friendly alternatives, giving a sustainable gift is a good way to get people on board. You can find the best sustainable products on our Sustainable Shopping Guide. By buying someone an ethically made present, you have made the decision for them to support a good cause. You can gently introduce them into the world of sustainable alternatives whilst giving them a thoughtful and useful present.
Make small, simple changes
Making small changes to our lifestyles is a good way of feeling in control by knowing we are doing what we can to help the planet. To help yourself feel less overwhelmed, research easy alterations you can make to your life to make it greener. Here are some suggestions:
Try to remember these tips throughout 2022 to live life unrestrained by climate anxiety, whilst remaining informed and helping educate people around you. There is hope in the future as an emerging collective becomes increasingly informed and impassioned.
Can you think of any more advice for people struggling with climate anxiety? Join in the conversation on our Instagram @luxiders_magazine and let us know.
Florenne Earle Ledger