The climate crisis is here to stay; it’s the greatest challenge of the 21st Century, and everyone has a part to play, even individuals with climate worries and no climate support. The good news is there are plenty of practical ways to respond to climate concerns. Making small changes in our lives is not only beneficial to our emotional wellbeing and the planet; it can inspire change.
Petition Local Political Leaders
The climate crisis can leave us with a feeling of paralysis, especially when we hear about some countries at the UN Climate Talks stating that the 1.5C target is unrealistic and should be increased - needless to say, low-lying countries like the Maldives disagree. It is not time to abandon these ambitious targets; it is time to step up and make an effort to achieve them.
If this kind of news leaves your stomach feeling knotted, you might be experiencing eco-anxiety. Eco-anxiety is unpleasant, but it’s also an indication of where your passions lay and can be used as a source of motivation. In Scotland, you can attend political party workshops to express opinions or create a petition to be debated in the Scottish Parliament with enough signatures. Joining a local community group is a good way to start.
Attend Eco Anxiety Workshops
Eco-anxiety can be defined as extreme worry about the present and future harm to the environment caused by human activity during the industrial age; it is a kind of extreme fear that is existential in nature and needs to be taken seriously. The good news is that eco-anxiety - sometimes called climate anxiety - can be treated in ways that are empowering and productive.
There is no need to start a course of medication for your climate fear; instead, attend an eco-anxiety workshop, and connect with like-minded people. Eco-anxiety workshops create a space for individuals to explore fears, worries, and grief about the loss of habitats and species; they are also a chance to meet a community of activists and become another agent of change.
Change Energy Consumption Habits
There’s no doubt about it the dangerous levels of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere generated by various industries. In fact, the vast majority of energy use comes from heavy industries, transport, and energy use in buildings, so while individuals are not to blame for the crises directly, we can have a significant influence in the economy by changing our habits.
The economy operates on a system of supply and demand, with capitalistic marketing efforts creating demand where none existed before; however, the economy will adapt to a change in supply, meaning that consumers have agency and power within the system. This is worth keeping in mind when we make everyday choices about how we use energy and transport.
Change your Commuting Patterns
Each year the UK government must report the country’s carbon emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), outlining the Co2 emissions from transport. In recent years there have been promising signs, with estimates suggesting that emissions from 2020 are 22% lower than figures from 1990. But there is room for improvement.
If you are feeling eco-anxious and you want to empower yourself to make a difference, changing your commuting habits is a simple and effective strategy. Although private vehicles are more eco-efficient these days, it helps to reduce carbon in the atmosphere if you use public transport or car share. All of these eco-choices take pressure off the system and help to reduce carbon.
Switch to a Vegan Diet and Lifestyle
Nowadays, it’s generally accepted that a plant-based diet has fewer carbon emissions than one that contains beef and other meats. It’s not hard to see where this idea comes from since raising cattle requires huge amounts of carbon and releases methane into the atmosphere. That said, a vegan diet will still produce carbon emissions but not on the same scale as an omnivorous one.
At one time, a vegan or plant-based diet was a novelty, and those who followed one needed to be deeply connected to their ethics to make it work, but that is no longer the case. Again, the economy has changed to accommodate the demands of consumers; as more people made plant-based choices, more companies started to produce plant-based products reducing carbon.
Some Final Thoughts
Eco-anxiety can make us feel guilty, regretful, and powerless, or it can make us feel empowered and optimistic; either way, it’s important to take action to resolve the inner crises we experience and make a positive contribution to the world. Every practical step you take towards making your life greener helps dissolve the tension of climate fear and inspires the people around you.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.