How I Stay Optimistic when Experiencing Environmental Anxiety (Eco-Anxiety)
Environmental anxiety, or eco-anxiety, is on the rise, particularly in the scientific community and younger generations. Eco-anxiety is a relatively new term and refers to feelings of worry and apprehension about future ecological loss.
In my latest Eco Chat episode I share six things I’m doing to stay optimistic about the state of our environment in an increasingly warming world. Hopefully they inspire you to do similar to reduce your eco-anxiety. At the very least I hope you feel reassured that there are people out there who care deeply about the sustainability of our planet, and who are prepared to go the extra mile to conserve what’s left.
Podcast: Play in New Window
Last weekend in Australia we all went to the polls to vote in our national election.
It was supposed to be the climate change election. The first time many millennials would have a say in who governs our country. The first time young Australians could let the balding, grey-haired politicians of our government know they truly wanted our country to take climate change seriously and implement policies to drive a greener, more sustainable future.
But instead it became the retiree’s election. The time when much of our large Baby Boomer population voted against superannuation and negative gearing reform proposed by the opposition government, preferring to cast their vote for the present government.
And it was regional Queensland’s election. When the vast majority of Queenslanders made it loud and clear that they wanted the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine and the promised jobs that would come from it.
The result was that our conservative, climate-denying government will remain in office.
So what now for the average Australian who is worried about the future of our country and seriously concerned about the future of our planet? Where do they go from here?
How can they stay optimistic when it seems there’s little to be optimistic about sustainability-wise?
How can they stay positive when overcome by environmental anxiety?
In this episode I’m sharing six things I’m doing to keep me optimistic about the state of our environment in an increasingly warming world. Hopefully they inspire you to do the same or at least feel reassured that there are people out there who care deeply about the sustainability of our planet, and who, unlike the Australian Government right now, are prepared to go the extra mile to conserve what’s left.
1. I’m Practising Gratitude
I practice yoga on average four times a week. It helps calm me down when I’m overwhelmed and helps me be grateful for all the good in the world. I find that when I’m operating from a place of gratitude I’m more likely to see all the good in the world and am less likely to spiral into despair from environmental anxiety. Walking in nature also has this impact on me and I try to walk along my local beach whenever I can.
2. I’M SKILLING UP
I can best drive change when I’m keeping on top of the latest science and developments in sustainability. This is why I applied, and was accepted, for Homeward Bound in 2018 and why I recently applied, and was accepted for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training. I can’t wait to participate in climate change training with former US-Vice President Al Gore next month and share everything I learn with you.
3. I’M AMPLIFYING MY VOICE
Why I’ve worked with many media outlets over the past few years, I’m responding to more requests to contribute to sustainability features. Last week alone I was interviewed for an ABC Podcast for an eco-parenting discussion and contributed to a Sydney Morning Herald article on how to reduce toxins in the home. These features enable me to get a credible, science-based voice on sustainability out into mainstream media to help the everyday person become aware of the facts and understand what they can do to live lighter.
4. I’M BUILDING MY NETWORK OF CHANGE-MAKERS
In the past 18 months alone I’ve had the privilege to connect with hundreds of sustainability game-changers alone through Homeward Bound and Climate Reality Leadership Corps. When I see amazing scientists, science communicators and environmentalists from my network achieving and driving change I’m not only filled with immense pride and gratitude for them, I feel less overwhelmed and anxious about the future as there’s so many reasons to stay hopeful. This in turn allows me to focus on driving change in the areas where I can make a difference. If you’d like to be part of my network on LinkedIn click HERE.
5. I’M RAISING CONSCIOUS KIDS
As a mother of two young boys I’m acutely aware of the world they’re growing into, and this is what causes me the most environmental anxiety. But I’m also aware of my responsibility as a mother to educate my children about how to live sustainably and why they need to do so. For my best tips on how to nurture eco-conscious kids click HERE.
6. I’M COLLABORATING TO MAKE A BIGGER IMPACT
I’ve known for many years that my personal mission is to reduce the impact of humans on our planet and to make green mainstream. Now I’ve focussed my efforts these past few years on working with individuals to help them create a more sustainable home and lifestyle, but I’m increasingly working with larger enterprises to make an even bigger impact. Specifically I’m partnering with an increasing number of Councils and Corporates to help them better support their communities and clients to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle through live or virtual sustainability workshops and my online sustainability programs. I hope to share a case study of how I’ve helped Bayside City Council in Melbourne support their residents to reduce household waste with you soon. If you work within the sustainability division of a council or corporate and want the support of an experienced environmental engineer and award-winning sustainable living educator so you can make a bigger impact in the sustainability space, please get in touch with me HERE.
So yes. Like many Australians I’m frustrated with the lack of prioritisation of environmental issues by our current, and now re-elected government. But by focussing my efforts on the six areas above, I’m overcoming my environmental anxiety and am staying optimistic and focussed on my purpose. I hope by sharing what I’m doing to stay positive your optimism returns and you can continue in your efforts to make green mainstream too.
OVER TO YOU!
How are you staying optimistic about the future of our planet? Share below!
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