The Climate Anxiety Solution: Hopefulness and Action

Does it seems like climate disasters are happening all around us? A heat dome covered the Northwest, fires all over California, New York City flooded.

It's not surprising "climate anxiety" is coming up more and more.

Climate-related anxieties are correlated with emotional, not behavioral responses to climate change. This anxiety can be paralyzing, leading to inaction.

You may have stumbled upon Terra Frma  in response to your own inaction or in your quest to build resilience in the face of your discomfort with climate anxieties. You may have found the Grab + Go Box to be a perfect tool for this. Emotional and physical resilience is what we strive to build in every customer.

What Is Climate Anxiety?

It describes anxiety related to the global climate crisis and the threat of environmental disaster. Have you observed this anxiety in yourself? Associated symptoms include panic attacks, insomnia, and obsessive thinking. Studies also find that climate anxiety is more prevalent in young people. At times it is also referred to as eco-anxiety, climate distress, and climate change anxiety. 

Emotional responses to environmental problems are not new. But those intense emotions, such as anxiety, panic, and fear—without a clear call to action and social change, could do more harm than good.

Why Anxiety, Not Action?

Even if you haven't heard the term "climate anxiety" yet, surveys and polls show it's being felt around the country:

  • In October 2020, the American Psychiatric Association found that 55% of respondents were concerned about the effects of climate change on their own mental health
  • Yale and George Mason universities found that about 40% of Americans feel “disgusted” or “helpless” about climate change3
  • A March survey of Gen-Z Americans (aged 14-24) found that more than eight out of 10, 83%, are concerned about the health of the planet

But why all this anxiety, disgust, and helplessness in lieu of action? Experts say that "driving factors" of climate anxiety could include expanding news coverage of climate disasters, regret for one's own impact, and living through climate disaster firsthand. Others say that losing one's own connection with nature is in itself distressing.

In the end, the implications of it all can seem insurmountable, even hopeless. The tendency for institutions such as government and industry to resist change doesn't help, either.

The Dangers of Ignoring Climate Anxiety

When psychologists talk about anxiety, they might say that it can be both adaptive and maladaptive. But to avoid harming each other and the environment, even more, we're going to have to cope with climate anxiety in an adaptive way.

What This Means For You

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.11 Tips on how to support it daily include:

  • Self-educating on the links between structural racism and the disproportionate environmental hazards found in underprivileged communities.
  • Elevating the voices of people in those communities through donating, demonstrating, and volunteering.
  • Holding your representatives accountable by staying informed, joining or forming local organizations, writing to your representatives, and boycotting corporations that use damaging practices. 

You've Got This

Observing the symptoms of climate anxiety, choosing to take a helpful and meaningful step and following through on the action can be incredibly impactful. The time is now. One step.