Escape Eco Anxiety

12 March 2020

Climate change is all around us. Both locally and globally, it can feel difficult to escape the bad news.

There’s been record flooding in the UK, with the government choosing to stand by and let it happen even though the unprecedented rainfall was predicted beforehand.

Abroad, we’ve seen staggeringly high temperatures in Australia and even Antarctica.

Is it affecting our mental health?

Small wonder, then, that many of us are suffering mental health effects from worrying about the climate crisis. Faced with global inaction from governments on tackling global warming, it can feel a bit hopeless and out of our control – if only there was something we could do!

We understand. Sometimes, it’s almost impossible to understand how there are still people – world leaders! – who deny humanity’s affect on the world or quibble about the definition of climate change.

There is still hope

We’ve been fighting this battle for a long time, and we’ve learnt that individuals can genuinely make a difference. You, your loved ones, your neighbours – everyone can help in the fight against climate change and help alleviate the anxiety and stress that climate change concerns bring about.

In 2018, our founder, Dale Vince, helped Forest Green Rovers become the world’s first carbon neutral football club certified by the United Nations.

In September 2019, we set our sights even higher by becoming the first company in the world to declare a climate emergency.

You might well ask, what does declaring a climate emergency mean for a company? Dale explains: “We’re adopting Extinction Rebellion’s 2025 target by which time we will be a carbon zero company. We’re now scoping out how much land we need and how many trees we need to plant to offset our residual carbon emissions. I think we’ll do it in the next 12-18 months. We’ll definitely do it by 2025 – and we’ll show what can be done.”

What you can do to fight eco anxiety

There’s a simple choice that everyone who cares about the climate crisis needs to make: do nothing or do something.

The first option might seem like the easiest. Doing nothing’s a doddle, right? But will it help combat worries about the future of the world, both in the short and long term? No.

We all feel better when we’re doing something to help. It makes us more positive, more optimistic, and it makes a difference.

Our recommendation for the best way to beat eco anxiety is to do three key things:

1. Put climate change at the forefront of your mind.

If you’re travelling, how can you make that better for the planet? Can you go by bus or train? If you have to fly, can you offset your emissions? Does your hotel have the right kind of policies on recycling, carbon offsetting and energy?

When you’re doing your weekly shop, think about what’s local, what’s in season. If you’re not already vegan, think about improving your health - and the planet’s - with more veg, less meat.

The natural world is suffering. David Attenborough knows it, we all know it.

Bees, birds, insects, amphibians and more are at risk but we can all help if we have access to green spaces. Build a bug hotel or grow plants that are attractive to bees – as a bonus, these also tend to be the ones most attractive to humans.

2. Encourage conversation and action around climate change with your friends and family.

The people you love could be suffering from eco anxiety as well, so how can you help them? Start by talking, not just about the latest record-breaking bad-weather event but about ways you can all help.

Ecotricity employees join climate change march waving flags in Bristol with Greta Thunberg

Not everyone is fully aware of the seriousness of climate change. If someone asks you, “What is climate change?”, use it as a chance to educate them on what they can do, rather than just scaring them with the calamities a two-degree rise in global temperature will bring.

Talk to your children. A survey for BBC Newsround shows that 73% of children are worried about the climate crisis, with almost a fifth admitting to bad dreams and losing sleep over it.

And let’s not forget that old axiom, a problem shared is a problem halved. We reckon you can quarter it by taking action together – whether that’s joining a climate cause as a group or helping to re-wild a patch of land. 

3. Demand action from government and businesses.

We believe there’s still hope. But, as Greta Thunberg, the climate change activist recently said “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.”

Our hope is that governments and businesses panic - and get serious, quickly, about fighting the climate crisis.

You can help move them in the right direction. Give your business to companies with the best green credentials and let their competitors know why you chose them.

Sign that petition, go on that march, write to your MP, make your voice heard on social media – when there are enough of us, it really does make a difference.

At the the Youth Strike 4 Climate march in Bristol, Greta encouraged people of all ages to take action saying "“Activism works. So I'm telling you to act.”

Start by switching to Ecotricity so you can be sure you’re supporting green energy production. We supply 100% green electricity and carbon neutralised gas. And we use the money from our customers’ bills to build new sources of green energy and maintain clean alternatives to fossil fuels, helping in the fight against climate change. We call this 'bills into mills' and just by being with us you can tackle the climate crisis. 

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