Eco-Anxiety - Reporting on Climate Anxiety


Prepared by Ross Thrasher

A recent issue of the e-newsletter Bloomberg Greener Living looks at how climate change is impacting mental health, and how to cope with eco-anxiety. Reporters Olivia Rudgard and Jack Wittels heard from hundreds of readers worldwide, and consulted therapists and disaster survivors. They followed up on LinkedIn in conversation with a therapist, a teacher and an activist/writer. Among the insights:

image of family taking walk in nature

Immerse yourself in nature

  • Setbacks in addressing climate change are part of the process. Rather than obsessing about the future, it helps to stay in the moment, joining with others to do something practical. Take comfort in direct experience with nature.
  • Seek out good news, such as the steady growth in global clean energy investment every year, and examples of small positive changes happening everywhere. Watch documentaries like An Optimist’s Guide to the Planet.
  • The failures in global efforts to moderate climate change have given rise in many people to feelings of helplessness and loss of control.
  • Education needs to foster different forms of learning and skills like self-agency and empowerment.
  • Climate therapy is an emerging field. Three common categories of persons seeking psychological help: (1) burned-out workers in climate-related fields; (2) victims of climate disasters, e.g. loss of homes, livelihoods, loved ones; (3) young people who feel that their future has been hijacked.
  • youth working together to help the environment

    Youth from EYA work to re-wild a creek

  • Eco-anxiety is not an illness, but a rational reaction to an overload of intensity. Society needs a systemic paradigm shift to strengthen our ability to lean into uncomfortable feelings and better tolerate increasing distress.
  • Other coping strategies include taking breaks from the often sensationalistic climate reporting in the media; learning to understand your tolerance limits; building resilience through webs of community and mutual support; working on renewable energy projects.
  • Identify what is meaningful to you, and navigate toward it. Make a conscious choice to counteract apathy/denial/fear in yourself and others.
  • The inaugural Bloomberg Green Festival in Seattle, July 10-13, will feature experts inspiring climate action.

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