6 Empowering Ways to Deal With Eco-Anxiety

Photography: HADAS Images

By Cheryl Magyar

We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. – American Indian proverb

We all have one Earth to call home, just as I have but one daughter to call my own. Not by accident, not without difficulty, but with a most delicate matter of choice. And it was, in fact, the birth of hers, that was the rebirth of “me”.

Before her arrival, my husband and I began to prepare by knitting and sewing tiny clothes out of organic cotton and hemp, wanting to provide the most pristine materials for next-to-the-skin health. She was too small to fit into any of them in the beginning, this however only made those sustainable handmade clothes last for some months longer.

As months flew swiftly by, she learned to walk and run while we followed barefoot in her hurried steps. When shoes became absolutely necessary, she wore rope-soled shoes – to remain connected to the grounding energies of the Earth. Life continuously moves forward, we know that we cannot stop growth.

Needs and wants begin to change as we mature, and this changes our behaviors, and ecological consciousness in return.

It may sound harsh, or purely strange to some, yet our daughter has never had a plastic cup of her own to drink out of, nor a plastic doll or plastic blocks to play with. To say she has been deprived of an experience, is to know nothing at all about the situation.

We must, instead, address a matter of mindset, or subconscious values, and ask “Why is plastic such a luxury? Why is it essential in our children’s lives?” Is it there to make them smile with its many artificial colors, or because it is “safe” – being harder wearing than other materials? We should also ask: is plastic good for the planet? Judging by the amount of waste causing havoc in the oceans below, I’d venture to say that we should rethink our addiction to plastic. When my instincts suggested to me to find alternative playthings, natural materials were to be found, though with a limited selection and at a higher price.

However, it does stop and make one think – regardless if they are a parent, or not – what sort of future are we providing to future generations when it has become our nature to toss what we no longer need so quickly and freely?

Eco-anxiety can simply be described as a chronic concern over environmental issues. In case you worry about global warming, melting ice caps and polar bears, or rainforests and orangutans, know that you are not alone.

This is where a sense of remorse, eco-anxiety and shame sets in. What do we do with the muchness of everything we own? How do we clean up such an enormous mess, or at the very least, slow it down? Every few months the news tell us that another whale has perished with a bellyful of plastic, how are we supposed to stomach that?!

To stick closer to reality than the news, these plastic-related deaths are happening everyday, not just to marine life, but to birds and land-loving animals too. We’ve created a plastic monster under our children’s beds, and perhaps they don’t see it just yet. In our lust for technology, we tend to swipe negative news into the background, as we Instagram the beauty of our lives.

Eco-anxiety can simply be described as a chronic concern over environmental issues. In case you worry about global warming, melting ice caps and polar bears, or rainforests and orangutans, know that you are not alone. Many of us are experiencing environmental unease to one extent or another. Rather than consider the anxiety over the state of the environment a weakness, let us reconsider and label it a strength – for our greatest weakness lies in giving up.

Caring passionately about the environment means you care about the future of all life on Earth; not just yours, or your child’s, but the insects’, the creatures’, the plants we cannot name – because we do not not know them, the ones we will never meet. We are all on this planet together and it is our responsibility to contribute to the well-being of each other.

Once you get past the denial of a rapidly changing climate, when you are through with the guilt of tossing your share to the wind, then it is time to change for the better. Turn your fears for the future into a series of empowering actions that anyone and everyone can follow.

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