For a lot of very good reasons, the environment and the impact that we are having on it has become front-page news over the past few years.
It’s almost impossible to watch the news, read the internet or even visit a supermarket without being made to think about the damage we are doing to the planet and what more we could each be doing to better protect it.
Compare this to even ten years ago, when the only time you would really hear much about the environment was as the result of a disaster, such as a large oil spillage, or when a group of activists had made the news from a large publicity stunt.
I think people understand a bit more these days about climate change, single-use plastics and carbon emissions. They know that recycling is important and that it’s good to turn off lights and taps when they’re not needed. For most people it has become a natural part of their lives to do their little bit to ‘help the environment’ or ‘save the planet’.
Unfortunately saving the planet isn’t quite as easy as turning off a light or walking to school instead of driving. This lack of ability to personally fix hundreds of years of environmental damage can create a feeling of helplessness and stress, a phenomenon that has been dubbed eco-anxiety.
Effectively, with people becoming more aware and more informed regarding environmental issues and with evidence of climate change and damage to the landscape and nature becoming more obvious, this creates a level of fear for the future and a feeling that individually we should be doing more.
An #EcoAnxietyStudy was recently conducted by Truverra which showed that eco-anxiety was a growing issue and one which a lot of people feel is a reality to them. For example, around 67% of those surveyed said that they felt nervous or anxious about the environment ‘several days’ or more and 12% admitted that they do definitely feel they suffer from eco-anxiety.
Personally I do feel a degree of eco-anxiety and I think this has definitely increased since having a child. I want him to grow up in a world that is safe, beautiful and full of nature to explore.
To be honest though, I wouldn’t say I think about the environment constantly or that it has a massive impact on some of my life choices. Yes, I do my bit like most other people do – I recycle, I try not to waste food, electricity and water and I try to buy products that use less plastic where I can. Those things have become second nature to me. But worrying about the environment doesn’t keep me awake at night.
Perhaps it will one day. Maybe one day the impact we’re all having on the environment will be so obvious that we can’t possibly not think about it. Large chunks of the world suddenly being underwater is obviously quite likely to focus the mind somewhat in years to come! But for now I’ll keep doing my bit the best I can, make responsible choices and help educate my son so that he can do the same.
Have you heard of eco-anxiety? Do you think you suffer from it? Let me know in the comments.