Why “Climate Anxiety” Is Normal and What You Can Do About It

  • Experiencing the effects of climate change via a traumatic event (i.e. flooding, ice or snow-melt, natural disasters, etc.)
  • Overexposure to headlines, reports, negative news and pessimistic conversations surrounding climate change and the climate crisis, which is also known as ‘doomscrolling’ or ‘doomsurfing’ (the act of consuming a large quantity of negative online news at once)
  • Loss or detrimental change to a place you have strong emotional attachments to; a feeling which is also known as ‘Solastalgia’ — a recently coined term combining ‘solos’ (that which gives comfort) and ‘algos’ (pain), indicating the pain or distress we feel when a much-loved place that gives us comfort is threatened
  • Post-traumatic stress after experiencing the effects of climate change (meaning physical environmental and ecosystem changes) and/or the climate crisis (meaning the ethical, political, racial, and human/civil rights issues associated with climate change)
  • A kind of professional paralysis, depression, numbness, or denial
  • Fatalism or hopelessness
  • Existential dread
  • Frustration or anger in the face of climate denial or inaction
  • Guilt or shame over inaction or lifestyle choices
  • Worry over the future and other feelings of stress or distress
  • Talk about how you’re feeling — By putting it into words, it will help you to process your thoughts and make sense of them, making it easier to break out of negative thought patterns later. This will also bring you closer to the people you choose to confide in and may end up helping them as well.
  • Write about it — In much the same way, putting your thoughts and feelings down in words can be a hugely impactful way to deconstruct your climate anxiety. It can also be a great way to record and celebrate goals and changes you’ve made, whether those are physical or mental, and to share your experiences with others. This is a big part of the reason I started my family climate action blog — Our House Is On Fire. It has forced me and my family to commit to goals and to hold ourselves to a higher standard of environmental awareness and activism, celebrating victories big and small.
  • Reach out to others — Whether you do this with the community you live in or by reaching out across seas and continents, finding like-minded individuals to talk to and share ideas with can help rekindle a sense of positivity and possibility.
  • Enjoy more nature-based activities — This can remind you what you’re acting for and why you should care. Try to do more things like walking or caring for plants and get friends and family involved where you can or want to.
  • Rethink your online presence — If you’re feeling overwhelmed by negative news and reports, cultivate your online presence selectively. Restrict your use of certain apps, or make sure you’re following accounts on your social media that will keep you informed, but in a positive way. Balance is key. Don’t blind yourself to realities, but don’t leave yourself with a news feed that makes ‘doomscrolling’ possible.
  • Make it a factor in your daily decisions — When you’re thinking about what to eat, what you buy, or how you’re going to travel, make climate change a factor in your decisions. Embed the practice in your thinking so that you feel less guilty for not thinking about it; even if it doesn’t change your decision, it will make you feel more connected to the issue. Make it part of your life, but not all of your life. Don’t feel guilty about doing things that aren’t directly related to helping mitigate the climate crisis, but where possible, think about how they could be linked to it. Fighting for equality and thinking about workplace responsibilities can be just as important in taking climate action as what you’re putting on your plate and where you’re buying clothes from.

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Climate Journal Project

Climate Journal Project

A space, practice and journal to help alleviate environmental anxiety & fears.