top of page

So, you have eco-anxiety..?


Light blue background with an arch featuring a picture of three women, one with blonde hair talking, one with dark hair looking down, and one with brown hair looking toward the blonde with the words eco-anxiety an evening retreat in swirly dark blue font beneath

On Thursday 19th of April Impact Hub and Seed Waikato hosted an intimate Zoom space to kōrero with a panel of three New Zealanders who have taken their eco-anxiety and turned it into action. On the panel were: Michal Garvey, who created Foodprint NZ as a way to empower Aotearoa to take action against food waste. Foodprint is a two-sided marketplace where you can purchase discounted leftover and imperfect food from local eateries to prevent it from being wasted! It currently operates in nine cities and towns across New Zealand. Dylan Chand, a passionate young leader who founded the Climate Action Conference that helps rangatahi start their own climate projects, has been a Youth Climate Catalyst at Auckland Council and has represented NZ on an international stage at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires. Lucy McLean, a clinical psychologist and recently completed a Masters Thesis on explaining and approaching eco-anxiety.

A screenshot of a zoom call set on a light blue background with three logos in the right hand top corner for impact hub waikato in maroon, dark blue for climathon waikato and yellow for seed waikato. There are four zoom screens with five people in them. Everyone is smiling or looking thoughtful


Thank you so much to all those who joined us + Impact Hub for a rich discussion about how we can navigate eco-anxiety. We loved diving into the power of small imperfect actions, the role of community, and the importance of being kind to ourselves With all the diverse experience and inner knowing of how they deal with their own eco-anxiety, Lucy, Dylan, and Michal helped us work through our feelings by reassuring us that we aren’t alone, giving us a few tips and tricks on how to move through the sadness and paralysis that comes with eco-anxiety, and know that it’s okay to feel those feelings and turn them into action. Eco-anxiety is something very personal, so all of the panelists shared what eco-anxiety means to them. Dylan spoke about how the meaning has changed slightly in recent years because of the climate disasters we are seeing happening more regularly ”I think the perception of eco-anxiety has changed over the past few years. It has changed from a person who may have catastrophized or thought of climate change causing doomsday to now being something where climate change actually impacts us every day whether that be the recent cyclones or the Auckland flooding, we know that these impacts of climate change are now causing everyday stresses and pressure” Dylan mentioned that he thinks the rise in eco-anxiety has been amplified by a “lack of action from key decision makers, whether that be local or central government” More and more young people are speaking up about the feelings of eco-anxiety they are experiencing and Lucy summed it up by just saying that eco-anxiety means “existential dread” - very relatable. Lucy also helped us think a little differently about anxiety as an emotion to either debilitate or motivate us: ”Anxiety can keep us safe, it can motivate us and drive us to do things. Eco-anxiety is like any other anxiety, it can be very useful and it can cause us to act, respond and care in really appropriate ways, and then it can also get really severe depending on the parameters of our lives. It can cause serious problems and be really debilitating for people.” This was a very interesting perspective change and begs the question - how can we get past the “existential dread” and into action? Dylan is a big believer in the power of community to get better climate outcomes and push people to act rather than be debilitated. “Finding a group of people that are just as passionate about climate action really helps. So when you guys are all together and are motivated to tackle this big huge challenge together because you guys want to have better outcomes, that really helps to subside that feeling of anxiety and that stress and pressure that comes with being in this space. I think that collective action is super helpful.“ Michal also cites community as a big part of what keeps her motivated. She and her team at Foodprint often talk about their eco-anxiety and feelings in the office. “We are all really open with each other, especially around how we are feeling about the state of the world and I think that that’s really important so that we can support ourselves through the ups and downs of it all.” Another way the panelists discussed turning emotions into action was through being kind to ourselves, going back to our values, and doing what we can. Lucy said “I’m really pro experiencing emotions, understanding that some of this really sucks and it really hurts and it’s really sad to see beautiful whenua being degraded. Express it in whatever way is appropriate for you.” “I think so much of the climate rhetoric through my teen years it was all about your own carbon footprint and all that individualistic stuff. Let’s ditch that! We live inside systems, give yourself a break. If you have to drive to work because that’s the only way you can get to work, that’s the system’s fault, not your fault. This is an idea that I developed a lot in my thesis, about accepting multiple truths, yes I can care about the planet and drive to work every day, both of those things are so possible. You don’t have to be perfect and you can embrace that messiness.” To finish, all of the panelists spoke on knowing and embodying your values as a way to help you find your passion within the eco-space, and reduce your eco-anxiety. “I think it is really important to connect with your values, whatever they are, and then apply them to yourself, like if you value love and beauty give yourself the grace to let yourself experience love and beauty in your life.” says Lucy.

There were so many incredible take-aways from the panelists so we thought we’d wrap them up here: 1: Acknowledge your fears - it’s okay and its totally normal. Experience those emotions, let yourself feel them and try to turn that emotion into action. 2: Create a group - community is key and will help keep you motivated to take action! 3: Discuss realistic action points - realistic being the key word here - do what you can and don’t beat yourself up about the rest as Lucy said “We live inside systems, give yourself a break, If you have to drive to work because that’s the only way you can get to work, that’s the system’s fault, not your fault”

Thank you so much to all those who joined us + Impact Hub for a rich discussion about how we can navigate eco-anxiety. We loved diving into the power of small imperfect actions, the role of community, and the importance of being kind to ourselves

27 views0 comments

Comentários


bottom of page