With polar ice caps melting, the ozone hole widening, species extinction, unregulated climate change, dwindling green spaces, erratic rainfall, floods and drought – we sure are heading towards the apocalypse, aren’t we? We are in a rather tight position and if this doesn’t unsettle us, then what will?
The psychologists are calling it “Eco-anxiety”, claiming that most of the young generation is dealing with this, especially after a strong uprising of young environmentalists has been seen in the past couple of years. Greta Thunberg being the recent voice against the deteriorating climate condition. My question is, isn’t this anxiety more rational than anything else?
Waking up to news like:
The health care professionals are calling eco-anxiety a growing sense of fear over climate change and impending environmental disasters. But if such news doesn’t unsettle you, am not sure what will! If today, we feel helpless and hopeless for ourselves and our future generations, if today we feel that we are almost on the verge of mass extinction and it is not very far that the apocalypse would knock at our doors – then are we wrong?
The only major point is that despite the grey area we see when we talk about the environment and climate change, we should not negate the fact that a couple of small steps will make a difference to the large scale catastrophe that we have, as a community, caused. That is where, eco-anxiety would fall short and be called mental illness, if we rather than challenging it, resign to its fate.
It is quite common and easy to blame the industries and governments for failing us with polices on climate change, but as individuals, we need to realise that this anxiety that we face today, is only because we are unable to make these 3, very simple yet extremely effective choices:
Firstly, make climate change a factor in the decisions you make around what you eat, how you travel, and what you buy.
Secondly, talk about climate change with your friends, family and colleagues. Finally, demand that politicians and companies make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing for the climate.
The climate is changing, unfortunately, our disaster response system is not changing with the same pace and everybody seems confused about what’s to be done and how!
As Mental Health day is celebrated all over the world on Oct 10th, 2019 – I am still unsure if eco-anxiety can be put in the bracket of a mental illness considering that its cause is rational. It is a topic which is debatable and needs dire attention but only for the good.
This anxiety if channelised in the right fashion would only encourage awareness and response systems that build a better environment. However, if left unchecked, then it can cause another global psychological issue which would only worsen if right solutions with broader perspectives are not adapted.
With the climate crisis causing upheaval all over the world, we need some strong leadership along with some sane yet innovative approaches to better understand our eco-anxiety.
Let’s embrace our anxieties with the right approach and as they say,
“In the climate emergency,
beyond hope and despair,
lies a time between worlds:
level ground to live and act
with courage, love and
Together let us go there…”