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‘Eco-Anxiety’: Worried about climate change?

Image Credit: Li-An Lim

Molly Fairclough, 11th Feb 2020
Tags: Life Blog Anxiety Culture Environment

Our world is in crisis right now, we all know that. You can’t go two seconds without seeing something on the internet about how the world is crumbling and we’re all doomed.

This past year, especially, has been a disastrous year for our environment, with the fires in the Amazon and Australia.

The world
Image Credit: Giphy

This constant news of our swiftly decaying planet can be pretty demoralising, and this is where ‘Eco-Anxiety’ comes in.

The term ‘Eco-Anxiety’ is one that I heard for the first time in 2019. Dave Fawbert describes it as the anxiety that comes from “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations”.

Balance caring about the environment and not getting overwhelmed by it.

Caring about the environment is a good thing. But, as hard as it is, it’s important not to let it consume you. So, how do you strike the balance between caring about the environment and not getting overwhelmed by it? Well, I’ll tell you.

Greta Thunberg You can be part of this
Image Credit: Giphy

The biggest thing that helps me manage my ‘Eco-Anxiety’ is focusing on my individual impact. Focusing on the things that I can control, prevents the snowball effect that causes me to feel like it’s my sole responsibility to save the planet.

The number 1 way I reduce my individual impact, is my diet. 

Olivia Petter wrote about a research study done at the University of Oxford. They found that "cutting out meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce your carbon footprint from food by up to 73%”. This means it’s the biggest way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

People choosing a vegan lifestyle.

The amount of people opting for a vegan lifestyle has sky-rocketed in recent years, which is largely due to the increased awareness of the environmental impact of our diet. 

Did you know that it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than a pound of plant foods? Or that eating animals is the largest contributor to habitat loss and extinction? 

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Considering these facts, it would seem that going vegan is the best way to reduce individual impact.

However, the pressure to go fully vegan, in itself, can be overwhelming. That's why it’s important not to approach veganism with an ‘all or nothing’ mentality. But every little step helps.

Small changes can make a big change [in your carbon emmissions].

Even just committing to ‘Meatless Mondays’ can reduce your carbon emissions by around 29% for the week. Whilst, going fully vegan is the optimal way to reduce your individual impact, even small changes like cutting out meat a few times a week can make a big change. 

Overall, when it comes to managing ‘Eco-Anxiety’, the key is to focus on what you can do, instead of worrying about the things that you can’t.

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