Climate Anxiety Workshop: Coping with The Climate Crisis
As a society we are becoming more aware of mental health and more conscious of the impact it can have on our general well-being. Anxiety can be a strain on our well-being, it is a feeling that is most associated with unease and worry; something that we are likely all to have felt at some point in our lives over something we may have had limited control over. Climate change is an example of this, with more knowledge on the subject, more coverage in the news and more outcry for action we find ourselves in a situation that is acutely anxiety-inducing. The term coined for this is “Climate anxiety”, referring to the negative psychological impacts on climate-conscious people, distress in the face of the climate emergency we face leading to depression, fear and a sense of hopelessness. This is generally found in the younger generation who are least to blame for the problem, but in the near future will be most impacted and therefore most responsible for solving the problems climate change causes.
I'm 23 years old, and too regularly am I seeing the impacts of climate change on the news highlighted in the areas of the world that are most susceptible to extreme weather events; a very real and recent example of this comes from the devastating floods in Pakistan which claimed lives and continues to displace many people.
This climate disaster, although far from the UK, is in part a direct consequence of environmental abuse and inaction to protect the most climate-vulnerable areas of the world. So, I ask myself, how on earth can I possibly do anything that can help or rectify what is happening? At the individual level, it is nearly impossible to make a change big enough to save lives across the world, and yet, it is nearly impossible to put something like this out of your mind. Hence, climate anxiety.
However, climate anxiety, as a response to the global crisis occurring before us all, is not an unnatural reaction; the acknowledgement that the problem is ever-growing and that the inaction is worsening the situation actually represents an empathetic response, a sign to yourself that you care. As a collective, we can work to make a change but the first step has to be overcoming the negative climate anxiety that we feel. Building a measure of psychological resilience can allow you to use those negative feelings as a motivating factor to spur you on in the fight against climate change.
1 - https://www.unicef.org/emergencies/devastating-floods-pakistan-2022
2 - https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/239251/majority-young-people-distressed-about-climate/