We all agree that climate change is one of the severe problems affecting humanity today, and the idea of a climate breakdown is drastically affecting people’s mental health. In simple words, eco-anxiety is nothing but chronic distress over environmental and climate issues.
Environmental and climate issues are causing PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and anxiety-related symptoms on a large scale. Eco-anxiety is affecting millennials more than any other generation.
Although it is not a clinical diagnosis like depression, people are suffering. People are worried lately from extreme weather changes, dying coral reefs, burning rainforests (like Amazon), and snowcaps melting at Poles. The influence we have on the environment is finally sinking in, without knowing how to act about it.
Why is it affecting millennials and Gen Z?
The environment has been taking a toll on all the greedy deeds carried out by businesses throughout the years. It is not a new story, and millennials are worried that they will have to face the consequences of all those deeds. Climate change has been growing drastically over the last two decades, and it is meant to keep growing if no actions are taken. The Australian Medical Association recently declared climate change as a health emergency and noted that climate change is the biggest threat to the 21st century. People have been worrying about environmental issues for a long time since the beginning of this century.
Recently Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl climate change activist from Sweden, rose to prominence for her blunt and matter-of-fact speech on climate change at Climate Action Summit 2019 in the UN. People with eco anxiety are adopting several changes in their lifestyle choices by reducing their own carbon print by giving up air travel and by turning into vegetarians or vegans.
What to do if you have eco-anxiety?
Finding optimism in situations like these can work miracles and help you overcome your anxiety. Another important thing you should do is to find like-minded people who think like you about particular matters and environmental problems. Starting local and protecting the nature and green spaces around you is where you should start. If eco-anxiety starts to create sleepless nights for you, especially after a natural disaster, start believing in your own inner power to overcome PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). You should also focus on not overthinking about the possible outcomes that might happen in the future, and work on preventable measures for the future. Although every small step counts, big changes can still only be created by business organizations and governmental organizations. If you’re over-concerned about things, write your worries about environmental problems to your local leaders who have been elected, or to people who possess power. Let them know about your concerns. You can also focus on building awareness channels using social media to educate people more about environmental changes and their effect on humanity. As members of the current generation, we hold the Earth in trust for future generations as watchkeepers. We owe the future generations nothing but a beautiful planet with rivers filled with clean water, clear sky, clean air, and low carbon. Don’t forget that we are borrowing this planet from future generations.
In the end, we only have one place to call home, and its Earth, so it’s our duty to protect it for future generations. Like Lady Bird Johnson quoted, “Environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is one all of us share.”