We all feel uncertain about our future at times. Perhaps this summer, the situation has become more acute for many as the climate warms causing unprecedented wildfires and heatwaves. General anxiety exacerbates the climate, Anxiety about “eco”.
While this may spur some to take action on climate change, Others, on the other hand, become paralyzed or inactive.. Our Recent Canadian Studies They examined how values and behaviors related to climate change are altered by individual personality traits. We found that the higher a person’s general anxiety trait and the more they valued nature, the more likely they were to participate in climate action.
last year, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a final warning. We must act against climate change while there is still time.
Countries around the world are declaring a climate emergency and taking action to urge individuals and governments to act.Individual lifestyle changes Switching to vehicles that do not rely on fossil fuels, etc. and reduce consumption of red meat If enacted on a global scale, it could have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions. But there are not enough people to make these changes. This may be partially affected. because of the level of anxiety they are experiencing.
Understanding climate anxiety
General anxiety is the tendency to worry about future events. Increased anxiety increases alertness and prepares you to do your best. But when the threshold is exceeded, the performance starts to degrade.
This is good and motivates you to prepare for the event, like studying before an exam or procuring supplies before the storm hits.
However, when worry becomes excessive or becomes difficult to control, Affects mental health and causes generalized anxiety disordercauses fatigue, restlessness and irritability, and reduces the ability to prepare.
Climate anxiety is when people worry about future environmental changes due to climate change.not recognized as Morbidity; indeed, some argue this is a smart and premature response to the climate crisis.
Read more: Climate change fears are real.Why it’s important to talk about it
For some, climate anxiety is triggered by experiencing climate change, such as farmers losing crops to drought. Or the mere thought of such an event triggers climate anxiety. moreover, people with a strong connection to nature They tend to have higher levels of climate anxiety because they are more aware of the environmental changes happening around them.
climate anxiety is Forces that motivate people to take action to reduce emissionsespecially in wealthy countries. That being said, these actions tend to morph into more things. Participating in sustainable diets and climate action, rather than conserving resources or supporting climate policy in general.
Them Poor countries in the global South are also experiencing climate insecurityHowever, economic and political barriers may limit climate action at the individual level.
Greta Thunberg, a prominent climate change activist, has used climate fears to: Inspiring world leaders at the 2019 World Economic Forum “I want you to feel the fear I feel every day, and I want you to act.”
The fact that Thunberg, born and living in Sweden, is a popular face of the climate activism is also somewhat emblematic of the lack of voice and agency that many in the global South experience.
Too much climate anxiety can cause paralysis and hinder climate action. In this state, people can: Difficulty going to work or even socializing.they can experience Panic attacks, insomnia, obsessive thoughts, appetite changes. People of all ages are concerned about climate change, More young people reportingprobably because Because climate change has a huge impact on their future and they feel helpless do something about it.
Read more: 10 Years to 1.5C: How Climate Anxiety Is Affecting Youth Around the World – Podcast
There must be a balance between anxiety enough to prompt positive and urgent change in people’s behavior and anxiety enough to cause paralysis.
Several interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing climate anxiety. Talk to a counselor, take a nature walk, or join a climate action group.
As more people experience climate anxiety, mental health professionals need to be better educated about identifying symptoms and treatment options.still Canadian reluctance to include climate change in curricula and professional training for social workersI do most of the counseling.
Read more: Is ‘Climate Anxiety’ a Clinical Diagnosis?
News media, social media and government publications are the main sources of information about climate change.Communicators in these areas can help Reduce Excessive Anxiety from Climate Messages with Positive Gain Frame Messages. For example, “If we all cut our meat consumption by just 20 percent each week, we could cut our carbon footprint by 30 percent.” , the Earth will be unable to support human life by 2050.” instead of the loss framework. Both arguments may be valid, but the former is more effective at inviting action.
Solution-oriented messaging is also an effective technique for reducing anxiety.the government can Greater emphasis on articulating national action plans It aims to manage and mitigate the impacts rather than continually reminding people of disasters caused by climates beyond their control.
The urgency of the climate crisis requires structural change at all levels of society, but it also requires meaningful action at the individual level. There are many things we can and must do. Our level of anxiety and how well we are supported will determine how successful our response to this challenge will be.