Eco-Anxiety In The Heat Of A Suffering Planet
Eco-anxiety refers to a fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster. This sense of anxiety is largely based on the current and predicted future state of the environment and human-induced climate change.
The American Psychological Association first defined eco-anxiety in 2017 as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” As climate protests, heatwaves and a barrage of natural disasters have pushed climate up in the news agenda, eco-anxiety has exploded across the Western world—even as developing countries have suffered most from climate change so far. Mental health studies from Greenland to Australia reveal a surge in people reporting stress or depression about the climate.
Eco-anxiety is not currently listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, meaning that doctors do not officially consider it a diagnosable condition.
However, mental health professionals do use the term eco-anxiety within the field of ecopsychology, a branch that deals with peoples’ psychological relationships with the rest of nature and how this impacts their identity, well-being, and health.
In the words of the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, who founded the school strike for climate movement in 2018: “Adults keep saying, we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope, I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic.”
How to manage your eco-anxiety
Although solving environmental issues relies on societal change, governmental input, and corporations taking responsibility for their contributions to climate change, people can usually manage their own responses to environmental issues using a range of strategies.
Some positive actions may include:
Taking positive action, thus reducing feelings of anxiety and powerlessness
- talking to others about good environmental practices
- volunteering with an environmental group making
- greener choices, including recycling and following a sustainable diet, such as eating less meat and dairy and buying eco-friendly products
Trying to stay optimistic
Having a healthy degree of optimism may help a person grow and adjust after experiencing stressful events such as natural disasters. People who try to reframe things in a positive way may find that this helps them handle anxiety better.
Fostering a stronger connection with nature
Spending more time outdoors or with nature may help alleviate eco-anxiety by encouraging a positive personal connection with the environment.
Taking control over your concerns surrounding the planet is important, and we are here to help! Just making the simple switch to certified organic, natural products could help clear that part of your conscience. Making this choice has an unbelievably positive knock-on effect, too, where buying one of our Africa Organics products means you are also supporting someone in rural Africa who sustainably harvests our raw ingredients. To find out more about how our ethos is in line with creating a better planet for all, head to our website.