What is eco anxiety?

Eco-anxiety refers to a fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster. This anxiety is based on the current and predicted future state of the environment and climate change. Try to recognise your feelings as completely reasonable and necessary, rather than push them away.

How can it affect you?

It can affect people in many ways. Feelings of being helpless and hopeless are common. Fearfulness that we can’t make the big changes needed to reverse the effects of climate change.

We can use these feelings to motivate ourselves and make a change. Think about the things you can do, any small change can make a big difference. Our #Littlechoicesbigchanges campaign is a great way to start making easy changes to your day-to-day life:

  • Save energy by switching off what’s not in use (including chargers, screens and lights)
  • Boiling the kettle? Only fill with what you need
  • Take a reusable cup to Essex Food outlets on campus and save up to 10p when you buy a hot drink
  • Recycle as much as you can and  reduce your waste where you can
  • Always put your litter in a bin to keep our campuses looking beautiful
  • Use a reusable bag and bottle
  • Shop locally
  • Cycle or walk when you can instead of driving 

Coping strategies

  • Expand your knowledge, there are some great books about climate change. How bad are bananas? by Mike Berners-Lee would be one of our recommendations for finding out the carbon footprint of everything
  • Accept your feelings towards climate change and learn to live with both the positive and negative emotions of eco anxiety
  • Finding a place within your community. Chat to people who understand your worries
  • Take action – are there things you can do which will make a difference? Can you make more sustainable choices? Can you eat less meat per week?
  • Self care - mindfulness, knowing when to disengage from things
  • Seek support 

Where can I find out more?

  • The Mental Health Foundation has top tips for connecting with nature as well as information on why it’s important for governments to increase access to quality nature spaces to improve mental health and social justice issues.
  • Calculate your footprint online
  • Join our sustainability champion network where we discuss topics of sustainability with several meetings throughout the year email sustainability@essex.ac.uk