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Climate Change Anxiety Is Real

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Few topics are more politically divisive than climate change. For every person who denies that humans affect the planet's shifting seasons and weather, there is another who loses sleep over what many scientists believe is the inevitable result of the way we live on the planet. If you fall into the latter category, there are several actions you can take in combating climate change while also taking steps to relieve the constant tension that accompanies the changes we are experiencing.


Are You Stressed About Climate Change? Climate Change Anxiety is real.


Climate Change Anxiety is Real


According to NPR, climate change anxiety is a real phenomenon. While it's possible to remain indifferent or even in denial of the effects of these changes to our ecosystem, numerous people in the past few years have experienced damage to their property and negative health effects for themselves or their loved ones due to extreme weather, sudden blizzards, and catastrophic events such as tsunamis and hurricanes. According to Yale, 70% of Americans are experiencing climate change anxiety and depression.


 

A Ray of Hope!


But there is a ray of hope! People are more aware than ever of the effects of climate change, with 30% more Americans believing in climate change than even 5 years ago. More importantly, 80% of people are willing to change how they work and live to reduce the effects of global climate change, according to Pew Research Center.


To help reduce your stress about climate change, we find the best course of action is action itself! 

When we all make little changes in our daily habits, they add up to significant positive changes.


If just 100 of us planted a tree this year, those trees would remove 2.4 tons of CO2 in their lifetime! However, if you are having trouble working through your climate change stress on your own, consider getting in touch with a qualified mental health professional who can help you work through your anxiety and assist you in making a plan for your mental health.


4 Ways To Alleviate Your Stress


You are not helpless in the fight against climate change. Consider the following four steps you can take that have been proven to be eco-friendly. Taking positive action can be both simple and rewarding.


1. Change Your Mode of Transportation


If you live in a city or an area with bike paths, it may be a great time to start using a bicycle instead of a car for short trips. You could also try carpooling to work if you live in a rural area or using public transportation when in a metropolitan area. If you are in the market for a new car, there are a lot of great choices for hybrid and electric vehicles on the market!


2. Change Your Habits


You don't necessarily have to convert to veganism to make a difference (though if you want to, go ahead!), but cutting down on your meat and dairy consumption can make a big difference. If just 150 people didn’t eat meat or cheese one day each week, we could save 38 million gallons of water and 101 cars worth of CO2 each year! Consider also growing food in a home garden or kitchen hydroponics as a way of connecting with nature instead of adding stress to the planet.


Your kids can learn how to use energy wisely, too. Sign them up for sustainability classes, a fun and educational way of learning how their small habits like using reusable cups instead of plastic water bottles make a difference at home and even help save the beach turtles!


3. Change Your Human Habitat


Surrounding yourself with nature and wildlife is shown to have a positive effect on health, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones, according to a University of Minnesota. Even if you live in an apartment, a single plant added to your room can reduce stress and anxiety.


Some ideas for surrounding yourself in nature include replacing your grass with wildflowers for a butterfly and bee garden, adding a water feature to help wildlife with a fresh drink, or scattering seeds to attract birds. Create a pot garden or plant a tree! When your tree matures, it can remove 48 pounds of CO2 pollution per year, or 2,400 pounds in its lifetime!


Composting is a great way to feel less wasteful with food scraps while generating rich garden soil for potting plants! Check out our composting with worms class for all ages!


4. Change Your Career


If you are considering entrepreneurship or you are already a small business owner, now is the time to consider starting an eco-friendly business. According to The Balance SMB, you may be afforded special tax breaks for using solar-powered energy. Using energy-efficient appliances, asking employees not to use single-use kitchen items such as straws, cups, and paper plates, and employing a recycling strategy for your business can go a long way to reducing your footprint on the planet.


If you are not ready for a big change, consider volunteering time to an environmental not-for-profit such as YEA, knowing that you are helping the next generation become stewards of the environment! Looking for volunteer opportunities near me? Check out opportunities to help us propagate seedlings, help with social media, or join a coastal restoration to save our corals!


The looming specter of climate change does not have to paralyze you with fear. If we all make small changes in our habits and thoughtfully consider how our choices are affecting the planet, we can make a difference. For more ideas on how you can help, check out our Top Tips for Sustainable Living blog series!

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