6 Empowering Ways to Deal With Eco-Anxiety
1. Appreciate that you already have enough.
Life becomes so much more fulfilling and gratifying when we can treasure everything that we own. From this realization, more opportunities open up and we soon find the need to share our excesses whether in belongings, crops or time. When we are consuming less and creating more, we are able to engage more meaningfully in conversations and participate more intensely in life.
2. Become a minimalist.
In the search of a sustainable life, minimalism is just one piece of the puzzle. Minimalists, by their very nature, consume less – which is wonderful news for the environment and for your eco-anxiety! Owning fewer belongings is achieved through decluttering everything you own, to make space for all the things that truly matter. With time, you will find that an uncluttered home fosters more time for others, tending to relationships and allowing more moments for self-care too.
3. Lessen the amount of plastic you consume.
Plastics have quickly become one of the largest sources of unwanted goods in the world via single-use, unrepairable items. It wasn’t always like this and it doesn’t have to remain this way. Once you start looking at ways to reduce plastic, you will start to see it everywhere.
Be prepared for a massive mindset shift to get rid of the bulk, yet keep in mind that going plastic-free isn’t all or nothing. Start small, getting rid of non-essentials such as plastic straws and one-time use water bottles. Adopt a zero-waste mentality and invest in a reusable water bottle, and then attempt a shopping trip without buying any plastic. The first time of doing anything new is always hard, don’t be discouraged that plastic-free alternatives won’t readily show their face – sustainable options are out there, keep seeking.
4. Take time to benefit the land, not just your wallet.
Show the environment that you truly care by means of a beach or park cleanup, picking up and removing sacks of garbage where you spend the most time in nature. If you wouldn’t toss garbage on your living room floor, why do we tolerate it outside in our living environment? Even if the garbage is not yours, pick it up! It sends a powerful message to others that cleanliness is beautiful – and nature expects the best from us: to be unwasteful. So what are we waiting for?
5. Reduce your carbon footprint.
If temperatures, disasters, winds, floods and other weather patterns are rapidly changing where you are, there is no need to feel hopeless about the future. There are many things we can do, starting today, to protect the environment world wide. In fact, it may be our everyday actions that bring about a massive shift in the way we consume everything from electricity, to gasoline, to the very food that nourishes us.
You can lower your carbon footprint by:
- Walking, or cycling, rather than driving to work.
- Putting an end to air travel, go slowly instead.
- Growing a garden, becoming conscious of food miles.
- Unplugging your devices, they need a break too.
- Opt out of buying “fast fashion“.
- Hand washing and line drying your clothes.
- Investing in a tree planting scheme, oxygenating the world.
6. Get outside in nature.
Make the conscious decision to spend less time online, away from the screen, and reestablish a respect for all living things by spending more time in nature. Not just wise advice for adults, but extremely important for children too. The more we can immerse ourselves in forests and among flowers, the more we can regain our true sense of beauty and the more we can love the places where we live, wherever we are in the world.
Earth, our one and only home, is here for us day and night, waiting patiently by our sides. With her abundance, she provides all we need to survive. There is little reason to raise anxiety levels about the state of the environment when we are doing all that we can to protect the land for future generations.
In a span of a decade – life, my daughter, and my passion for the environment has led me to believe that sustainability starts at home. Shop less, create more, write poetry, skip the news or better yet, take a digital detox and get offline altogether. Step out of your plastic shoes and go bathing in a forest as you reintroduce yourself to the world!
If we are on borrowed time, let’s all do our part to leave our shared environment better than we found it.
Cheryl Magyar is a successful sustainable life designer who helps families and small businesses all over the world return to green ways of work and living. She homesteads in northern Romania, plants native trees, gardens, forages and maintains a small carbon footprint, encouraging others to do the same.