Image credit: University of Evansville
OK - the folks who accuse us greenies of being "Chicken Little" are going to have a field day with this one - but it's an important topic. It's not unusual for environmentally aware folks to suffer from eco-anxiety. After all, from climate wars to mass extinction, there's enough bad news out there for us to be justifiably concerned. Yet what purpose does that concern really serve, and how can we challenge it to a more constructive outcome? The fabulous folks over at Peak Moment TV have got me thinking again - this time with their excellent interview with Sarah Evans, eco-therapist, author, and curator of the Eco-Anxiety blogspot (yes, really, it exists!). I've touched on some of my own eco-anxious musings from time-to-time - whether it's wondering whether doing something is doing enough, or obsessing over my (and other peoples'!) peeing habits - yet I am nowhere near the most eco-anxious person I know. Most of the time I am at peace with my efforts - knowing that I am doing what I can, and that I am trying to influence a societal change, but accepting that I can't take on everything myself.
Talking to folks who are more newly aware of the danger we humans find ourselves in, that's when eco-anxiety really comes to the surface. It makes sense really - when you first hear about or come to recognize the full gravity of climate change, peak oil, resource depletion etc, you can't help but freak out. But ultimately freaking out is not going to get us where we need to go. By getting fully engaged in the challenges that face us, we can not only start to turn things around - but we can feel better about what's coming too. And Sarah seems to echo that advice - helping folks to come to terms with inevitable feelings of grief or anger, but then moving beyond that into action.
Right on Sarah - the sky may indeed be falling, but I'd rather be making preparations to fix it than fretting over the consequences.