Floods, wildfires, animals facing extiction… Is it possible to shift the conversation from doom to hope?

Eco-anxiety is a deep and constant state of worry felt by the individual as a result of the short-term irreversible changes in their environment. The general symptoms of intense helplessness in the face of the gradual self-destruction of the world we live in are insomnia, eating disorders, difficulty concentrating, sadness, and depression. Eco-anxiety? It’s more like eco-anxiety, mixed in with eco-depression, eco-OCD, and eco-PTSD. 

A report released on August 9 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounded the alarm on the spiralling state of global warming. The report said that humans are “unequivocally” to blame, warming the atmosphere, ocean and land in some “irreversible” instances. This year has already seen record-breaking weather extremes and it’s only predicted to get worse.

Within 20 years, the average global temperature is likely to reach or cross the 1.5 degree celsius warming threshold, unless rapid, large-scale action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A rise of 1.5 degree celsius above pre-industrial level is generally seen as the most the earth and humanity could cope without jeopardizing human health and livelihoods.

So far, any pledges made from countries on reducing greenhouse gasses have yet to be aggressive enough to make an impact. 

While concern about climate change is healthy and very much justified, in some individuals it has created an anxiety that interferes with their routine functioning. It is common among Gen Z and millennial age-groups, as they are the ones who assess the damage of the world they are about to inherit.

The long-term impacts of climate change – melting ice caps, rising sea level and constant heat waves across the globe – have left many with the feeling of existential dread. If you are finding youself asking if you’re ‘doing enough’ or will you be able to ‘make a change’, welcome to the club.

Most of the millennials and Gen Zs are actually questioning for how long would the planet hold on. And if you think about it, it is hell of a question to be wandered in the minds of teenagers. Our thoughts and overall health is a reflection of our dying planet. Before we spiral more, let’s discuss what can be done and how can we find hope?

While this feeling of dread has made a home in people’s minds, experts and activists believe that channeling their anxiety into action, along with supportive therapy, will be helpful for people in countering it.

Ways to cope with eco-anxiety:

– Identify and accept the condition

– Be easy on yourself and give back to the environment

– Getting involved in climate activism can give a sense of validation

– Sign up for community action programs. It makes you accountable

– Work on turning grief into action for a positive outcome