The recent summer has made it clear that climate change is already occurring and will affect everyone. Along with the inconveniences it brings, such as canceled flights! uncomfortable commutes! restrictions on outdoor exercise. In the face of these conditions, people are feeling a wide range of negative emotions—sad, scared, overwhelmed, anxious—that are leading to new terms like eco-grief, climate anxiety, and solastalgia.
There is a significant amount of survey data, including a report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication in 2023, that indicates a strong concern about the individual effects of this change.
Additionally, research suggests that there is a connection between personal experiences and emotions related to climate change. A study conducted in 2022 found that the extreme heatwave in Canada in 2021, known as the heat dome, caused a notable rise in anxiety related to change.
Although it is appropriate to be worried about climate change, at extreme levels, climate anxiety can threaten one’s ability to function, making it hard to sleep, work, or even have fun with family or friends. Nevertheless, we should allow ourselves to feel our negative emotions.
It is important to acknowledge and embrace negative emotions alongside positive emotions. It is crucial to maintain hope, which is rooted in the belief that positive outcomes are possible, even if they may not be probable.
Hope enables us to imagine a future where individuals and communities can not only survive but also prosper, and even undergo positive changes.
“Grief and anxiety are necessary for motivating change, while hope is necessary for believing change is possible. Emotions play a crucial role in both well-being and taking action.”
Reference- TIME, National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Magazine, National Library Of Medicine