Members of my generation can often feel lost, shouldered with the responsibility of trying to clean up the messes of our forebears. We were raised being told to use less water, less electricity, reduce, reuse, and recycle. We watched The Day After Tomorrow and learnt about the Polar Ice Caps melting in Geography class. We grew up becoming increasingly aware of, and alarmed by, the state of the world we are inheriting.
I remember having panic attacks about climate change before I even knew what panic attacks were. I would curl up in bed crying out of fear, trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to wake up my parents. I have friends who share similar experiences.
It seems like every other day there’s a new headline announcing that we are further crossing the line that is the point of no return.
The effects of climate change are already being felt, from Europe experiencing snow in March followed by extreme heatwaves just a couple of months later, to the increasing number of wildfires in California.
Sea levels are already rising, coastal communities in some areas of the world are already being forced to become climate refugees.
I can almost understand why some people choose shut it all out. To stick their heads in the sand.
I’m almost jealous of people stupid enough to believe that climate change isn’t real, because they don’t have to live with this constant fear.
Although perhaps for them it is simply a defense mechanism because the truth is too much to bear.
Awareness is a heavy burden to carry, and I’ve had to come up with ways to make it possible to get through the day. Here are some of the things I’m doing that have helped me deal with my climate depression:
Talking to Others
Discussing your feelings with others is an amazing way to deal with low-mood and feelings of hopelessness. Speaking to loved ones may help you change your perspective and realise that you are not alone. Talking to like minded people who care about you can do a lot to pull you out of a dark place.
Adopting a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint. The animal agriculture industry is a huge environmental polluter and by no longer consuming animal products, you stop funding and being complicit in that pollution. Knowing that my diet is one of the least environmentally harmful out there really helps put my mind at ease.
By learning about ways I can personally make my lifestyle better for the environment, I’ve empowered myself by knowing that I’m on the right path to leading a more eco-conscious life. I’m currently learning about sustainable fashion and how I can express myself through clothing without supporting fast fashion companies that pollute the environment.
Joining and Supporting Organisations
One individual can only do so much to make a difference, but a group can really turn the tide and inspire change. Joining and donating to organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of The Earth can help those organisations lobby governments to make better environmental choices. It can also introduce you to other people who share your values.
Exploring and Experiencing Our Planet
Travel heals the soul, and although some aspects of it aren’t great environmentally, truly experiencing the planet that you care about so much is an amazing way to deal with low mood surrounding climate change and the future. There are numerous ways you can make your travelling less harmful to the environment, such as limiting your air travel, using carbon offsets when you do fly, and bringing zero waste equipment with you on your trip so you avoid using single use plastics. You can also travel around your own country or continent to avoid long plane journeys and the carbon emissions associated with them, and also save yourself some money.
I know that I am not the only person suffering from climate depression, and for some people the hopeless feeling can get too much to bear. If it’s something that you’re struggling with severely, I have left some websites at the bottom of this post. Remember that the world desperately needs people like you, who really care.