Eight steps to turn climate-anxiety into a superpower for positive change for our planet
by Ardra Meletath
17 March 2023
Yep! Climate anxiety is a real thing! And yep! There are many Australians feeling this way.
© Barbara Veiga / Greenpeace
Does news about the climate crisis seem to take a particularly heavy toll on your mental health? Then hi, welcome! You’re not alone. In fact, you actually join a not-so-exclusive club of almost half of all Australians.
According to a recent national poll conducted by the Climate Council, more than half (51%) of Aussies are “very worried” or “fairly worried” about climate change and extreme weather events in Australia.
It probably means that you or your loved ones have been directly impacted by climate change-fuelled disaster(s) in the past, or, like most other climate activists or climate-alarmed folk, you’re an empath who feels things deeply. IYKYK.
So if you’re reading this (firstly) kudos to you, fellow empath, for being exactly who you are! We think you are amazing. Have you tried harnessing that superpower into positive change for our planet yet? If not, here are eight steps to get you started:
Step One: Empower yourself
Let go of what you cannot control and take charge of what you can. Take a break and find activities that ground you again.
Segregating waste, utilising more public transport, reducing the use of single-use plastics in your life, installing a solar power grid at home, carrying out rainwater harvesting, and growing your own garden or just one indoor plant (bonus points if you can harvest some tasty fruits, herbs, or veggies!) are all ways to play your part – and bring you back to nature at the same time. Win-win!
Step Two: Get (and stay) inspired
Even superheroes need to refuel from time to time. So don’t forget to tailor your feed to include funny animal videos (trust us), and positive news stories and content. Some other great follows over on the ‘Gram include @jessharwoodart @sarah_lazarovic @futureearth and @gogreensavegreen
As far as podcasts go, “turn your climate anxiety into climate action”- the tagline of Greenpeace podcast Heaps Better says it all. Listen to learn more about how we can all become better planet savers!
And if inspirational, life-changing stories (with a happy ending) are what you need, head over to A Slight Change of Plans, a podcast by Dr. Maya Shankar. Dr. Shankar’s guests talk about the crossroads they faced in life and how they overcame them to come out better and brighter at the end of the tunnel.
Step Three: Connect IRL with other superheroes
Not all superheroes wear capes. And you’re likely to find a fellow hero for climate action right next to you at your next local climate rally, you can join your nearest Greenpeace Volunteer Hub, or even head to a local book club that is an ideal space to read and discuss new ideas with like-minded friends.
Whether it be rallying, reading cli-fi or self-help books, connecting and discussing your thoughts with others is a great way to declutter your thoughts and ease your mind.
Step Four: Talk it out with loved ones
Climate anxiety is real, and sometimes it can become a very heavy weight to bear – even for the strongest of superheroes. Never be afraid to reach out to trusted loved ones (or medical professional) when you need some extra support.
Step Five: Help empower your elected representatives
Pick up the phone (or jump into your emails if you’d prefer) and give your elected representatives or candidates a (superhero) earful about the changes you want to see.
Step Six: Just be in nature from time to time
Go for a walk, head to the beach (or even your local pool!) or take a hike over the weekend, spend your next free afternoon in an observatory park or local conservation centre – or even just drink your morning tea or coffee outside next time!
Disconnecting from your screen is one of the quickest ways for any nature-loved like yourself to unwind from the busy world we all live in.
Step Seven: Listen and learn from the Traditional Custodians of the land
As Waanyi nation member and award-winning author, Alexis Wright once said, “We say we have been here since time immemorial, and we understand that our resilience is intrinsically linked with the stories that tell of the ongoing, regenerative cycles of the world in which we live.”
Taking positive action to help heal our planet, cannot be done without being an ally (year-round) to the Traditional Custodians of the land.
Whether that means spending time to learn about and take care of the Country you are living on, or using your voice (and privilege) to fight for change, take the time to listen and learn from First Nations people.
Step Eight: Join our community
We believe in the power (or should we say superpower) of many. And the strength of our work depends on the thousands of people who put their beliefs into action.
So why not get involved and join our crew to help give our planet the voice it deserves. Our team of volunteers help make the impossible, possible!