Letting yourself experience climate grief
Right now the climate isn't in a good situation. Every day even more dire reports are coming in from scientists, right along side reports of even more assaults to our planet. With the Amazon forest is burning out of control, the first ever funeral for a glacier was held, and Greenland's massive ice sheets are disappearing.
This is all bad news, and for many people, its frightening. Sure, these things probably won't effect us very much, but it could effect our children, and certainly our grandchildren. When you look at your child and think about what sort of world they may experience after your gone, it can cause a lot of pain.
This pain that you experience when thinking about climate change has a name, climate grief, and it's very real.
According to a recent Yale study, anxiety over climate change is growing. 64% of Americans are worried about being directly effected by climate change, such as through extreme heat or droughts. On the other hand, only 6% of Americans think we will be successful at combating climate change, even though about half think we have the capability to do so.
If you're suffering from anixety about the climate, here are some ways to cope:
Recognize that it's okay to grieve
The planet is in a bad place. It's okay to feel bad about what is happening, our limited efforts to stop it, and the fact that one person can't save the whole planet even if they gave up every known comfort. The feelings you are experiencing are real.
Giving yourself permission to grieve, and even attending climate grief events, can help make you feel better and give you the support you need.
While one person may not be able to change the world, they can still have a big impact. Stories such as Isabel Bottoms, a 21 year old who helped bring attention to the inability of small countries to be heard at UN meetings, are very encouraging.
While you may not be ready to join a protest, you can still help in small ways. Every time you remember your reusable grocery bags, not only are you helping, but you're setting an example for other people to follow too.