How are You Dealing with Climate Change?

“Chronic fear of environmental doom,” to be defined by American Psychological Association (APA) as the term “ecoanxiety.”

In a randomized poll sent out among Skyline students, only 50% were aware of this expression. Therapists and organizations are quickly catching onto this “pre-traumatic stress” effecting the masses and advancing their awareness on the issue. Even the World Health Organization refers to it as the greatest threat to mental health in the 21st century.

As more people face the impacts of environmental changes occurring worldwide, the challenges of the future grow more overwhelming. Just this year Greta Thunburg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden has taken her stand on this issue out into the political world sharing her views on government platforms.

These days more people are seeking professional help to talk about the causality through psychotherapists majoring in ecoanxiety and eco-grief alike. In areas that have been directly affected by environmental disasters, there is a significant influx of people dealing with PTSD reaching out for help.

“Unprecedented changes,” “irreversible damage,” and other expressions associated with covering climate change are steadily being thrown around in media and by scientific predictions. As this problem becomes more urgent, the terms used to report on it are evermore threatening. However, those who still remain indirectly effected take the issue consequently as their own, due to the succeeding uncertainty.

Very few students purposefully disengage with the environmental issues in media, but the majority absorb the information and choose to further educate themselves. At the end of the day, it is up to the individual how the issue affects them. However, along the extreme opinions brought up by journalists and bloggers, the population becomes gradually more polarizing.

Whether you are a believer in climate change or not, there are still red flags that come with this concept. Many mothers, and soon-to-be-parents can see the problem affecting their children’s future. Some express guilt and grief for the upcoming generations. This does not seem to effect students here, as few at Skyline find the idea of bringing a child into the world to be irresponsible. This outlook can manifest hope among those who presume differently to have children and be fulfilled regardless.

Skyline students that may or may not deal with ecoanxiety, use the following to cope in order by popularity; practicing self-care and building resilience, expressing themselves through writing, and/or art, appreciating nature by spending more time outdoors, and reminding themselves they’re going to be OK.

These are just some of the simple ways to find peace if ever there is a moment of stress/worry when a predicament arises. The least prevalent way students chose to manage this climate caused anxiety, was to take political action. In spite of this, it is the longest and strongest existing solution to transform the quality of the Earth’s ecosystem and environment. While advocating for awareness for climate change is admirable, it carries great mental burden, and we should make sure that when calling for change that we aren’t forgetting our own mental health.

However if you choose to deal with the issue, the best way to deal with ecoanxiety is to look inside and be outside. It’s best to worry less about the future, and fall in love with the beauty that nature provides before you right here right now. The weight of the world should not be placed on your shoulders, but if you are passionate about saving our planet, there are many ways you can participate that could also help release some of the pressure.