How to keep going when you’re worried about the planet – life in an age of climate anxiety

Looking at the news feels even more apocalyptic than usual right now.

While we’re still learning to live with the covid-19 crisis, record temperatures and wildfires are sweeping through North America and floods have been devastating parts of Europe, China, and India.

Nature isn’t happy and the world is suffering. And anxiety can seem like the most natural response in the world to everything that’s happening and to come. We should be anxious about the climate. There’s just so much that needs to be done, and I wish every day that politicians would start acting with the speed and focus that the planet so desperately needs.

But being frozen in place and unable to live a joyful, fulfilling life isn’t going to help.

Nor is it fair to put the blame or the solution solely on ourselves as individuals. We can (and should) eat less meat, consume less, recycle, cycle instead of drive, and avoid flying, but it’s going to require much bigger transformations of the way corporations and governments work to correct the course of the climate.

But even if your footprint upon the earth is a small one compared to the impact of huge corporations, it still matters.

The way you live can cause ripples of change beyond you and inspire others to make their own pivots.

The way you choose to live your life can also be your therapeutic way of coping when there’s so much you can’t control.

It can be your way of knowing that you’re doing what you can with what you have.

We’re still here, and the world needs kind, thoughtful people who adore the natural world and want to see it regenerate and prosper.

Creating hope and navigating the climate crisis effectively (and sanely) depends on communities working together.

As part of those communities, we can vote for political parties that protect the world’s wild spaces and think beyond this generation.

We can protest for change and support causes that are creating impact at both local and high levels.

We can consume less – or not at all – from the corporations causing the most damage.

We can grow pollinator gardens on our balconies to attract bees and butterflies or buy land to safeguard.

We can recycle and reuse as much as possible of what we do use.

We can live and work in alignment with the values and priorities we feel to be right.

We can create businesses, start projects, write books, and make art that celebrates and protects the world’s beautiful wild places.

Even if you’re just one tiny part of life on earth, you get to choose the way you spend your time here. Even if it’s just a drop in the ocean, you can do what you can and take care of yourself. You can find support from communities that feel the same way and want to create the same change.

What does living well and honestly to your values look like to you? What does doing the best you can look like?

How do you wish everyone would live, and how can you best embody that in your own life?

And let’s keep reminding ourselves: there’s plenty of beauty out there to marvel at, protect, and regenerate.

Find nature around you, sit quietly, listen, take a few breaths, and let the wildness soothe your spirit. Then do what you can, with what you’ve got, to protect it.

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