Eco-anxiety or climate-anxiety is increasingly being recognised as an understandable human response to the worrying news about the environment, both at home and from around the world. As our fears grow about environmental and climate change-related problems, when just reading about the news can be daunting, with fires in Australia, the Arctic, and the Amazon devastating the landscape and wildlife, flooding in Indonesia; with melting glaciers and warming seas, rising sea levels, insect apocalypse and warnings of escalating extinction rates, it’s understandably sometimes overwhelming; and can be hard to know how to respond emotionally to these unprecedented and unpredictable global catastrophes. Maybe it makes perfect sense to feel anxious! Perhaps we should be calling it eco-awareness or even eco-empathy; as feeling anxious may be the consequence of waking up to the frightening changes to our world.
Conversations about climate change and climate-anxiety bring us face to face with our own feelings of vulnerability, fragility, hope and resilience, as well as concerns about the planet. Navigating these complex times is perhaps the greatest challenge that humanity has yet faced.
Join Caroline Hickman, lecturer in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences, and Elouise Mayall, recent graduate from the University of East Anglia and member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, in discussion about these concerns