Eco-anxiety - and what to do about it.

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Eco-anxiety is anxiety about ecological disasters such as the extinction of species or threats to the natural environment like pollution and climate change. It is a real, natural and a perfectly healthy human reaction. Accepting and managing the feelings that come with it can pose problems but there is plenty help and support available - see below.

iBerry has little experience in this area so comments and suggestions are very welcome. In particular, we would like to hear from anyone with eco-anxiety, however mild or severe and how they deal with it.

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Note: Much of what can be said about eco-anxiety also applies to anxieties about the pandemic.

Eco-anxiety is not uncommon but has received much less attention than many of the physical issues that dominate the news such as renewable energy or flood defences. In a recent survey (BBC newsround) about 3 out of 4 young people said they worried about the state of the planet right now, including some who were very young and very worried. This is not necessarily a bad thing! For obvious reasons they will bear the brunt of the crisis but given the right help and support, they will learn to manage their fears and meet the challenges ahead with a positive and constructive attitude.

Eco-anxious? You are not alone. Two activists discuss eco-anxieties, including their own.

This is very important -

If eco-anxiety is becoming a problem, seek help! Depending on your circumstances, talking to friends, teachers, parents, workmates, therapists can make a big difference - don't keep it all to yourself!

'How I Cope with Climate Grief, as a Climate Writer' is a very honest and revealing account of how one person manages their anxiety.

What you can do.

It is not too difficult to decide on practical actions that fit in with your own circumstances but putting them into practice is more of a problem involving your inner feelings as well as rational thought. Wake up to the harm that your species has inflicted on the Earth and make sure your plans reflect your values and beliefs! Do not forget, that among so many other living things, you are, yourself, simply a small part of nature in a vast interconnected ecosystem under threat by humankind. If you can, view the BBC's, 'Perfect Planet' with David Attenborough, particularly the episode on humans!

You do not have to cross the Atlantic in a sailing boat like Greta Thunberg to make a difference. However, you might want to adopt something new in manageable stages. For example, approaching vegetarianism by gradually cutting down on your consumption of meat or maybe using public transport more and more and your car less and less. Even switching off lights when not in use can make some difference and why not buy local organic produce for your kitchen rather than having it flown in from abroad? Plant a tree or two - or 85?

There is much to debate about the relative merits of what you can do and why but if you think it has little impact in itself consider the important example you show to others. Explaining your reasons to friends, relatives, teachers, coworkers, casual acquaintainces etc etc, can make a big difference in spreading the message but do go about it in the right way! - eg see Climate Change Education - Denial ain't just a River in Egypt!

Some links illustrating various approaches to action -

Many forms of support are available -

See also Portal Room 6: Eco-anxiety Support: finding help

And: Latest links

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