Words are powerful because they give us the opportunity to articulate our experiences and share knowledge. With an interwoven, planetary challenge like climate change, our ability to effectively communicate is critical. As climate discussions, engagement, and leadership continue to boom in the nation, so too does the term ecoanxiety.
Mental Health and Our Changing Climate, a recently published report by ecoAmerica and The American Psychological Association, chronicles the impacts of climate change on Americans’ mental health and psychological well-being. Here, ecoanxiety is defined as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” While broad, this term empowers us to give voice to experiences of anxiety or depression that result from environmental crises. A consistently warming climate, more severe weather patterns, and intense political gridlock are but a few reasons we may experience these psychological impacts. In fact, we can even experience ecoanxiety without feeling the direct impacts of climate change.
Indeed, the current climate crisis is a justified cause for psychological turmoil, especially among young people. And in the quest for climate solutions, many individuals are likely to experience ecoanxiety to some degree. Voice these moments. By identifying our emotions, we both validate our experiences and strengthen the interpersonal relationships that combat isolation. Climate work is hard work, and it is vital that we care for our mental well-being.
If you are interested in learning more about the impacts of climate change on mental health, make sure to read Mental Health and Our Changing Climate. Additionally, surround yourself with like-minded leaders and discuss topics like ecoanxiety at ecoAmerica’s upcoming American Climate Leadership Summit. We look forward to furthering climate action with you this year.
ecoAmerica builds institutional leadership, public support, and political resolve for climate solutions in the United States. We help national mainstream organizations elevate their climate leadership, providing them strategy, tools and resources to: demonstrate visible climate leadership, empower climate literacy, engage all constituents, and build collective action and advocacy. We help our partners transform into national climate leaders who inspire others on solutions. ecoAmerica.org
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