Climate Anxiety… I’ve got it.
I worry about species going extinct, what will the future be like for my kids, how will global poverty and inequality be addressed when it’s the poor who are impacted first and hardest. Not to mention the guilt of knowing that my comfortable western lifestyle is a significant contributor to the problem.
When my 18-year-old daughter asked me to stop mentioning negative things from the news, I realised that my anxiety must have been leaking out. So, to reassure her as well as myself, I looked up some resources .about how I could be take some action. According to my research, here are some tips to help families deal with climate change anxiety:
Validating your child’s feelings – Climate change is terrifying and it makes perfect sense to be concerned about it! Brushing these worries off as something to simply “forget about” can leave your teen feeling like they’ve overreacted, when their feelings are actually very normal.
Be mindful about news and social media use – Keeping up to date with the current state of the world is an important part of being a global citizen, but too much exposure can activate our bodies’ stress responses. Check in regularly and don’t be afraid to plan tech-free periods with the family.
Controlling what you can control – While one person can’t save the world, there are little things we can do to help. Even small things like recycling or implementing ecologically sustainable practices in your home can help both teens and parents to feel involved in positive change.
Taking steps to bigger change – If we want to prevent climate anxiety from stretching out into the future, we need to make big changes in the present. Most of us aware that our individual actions have limited impact, but both parents and teens can get involved in activism to encourage change at a systematic level. Try joining a march, organising a letter writing campaign or changing policies at your school or workplace.
I will be attempting to implement all of these in my home – for the peace of mind of all of us!