Eco-Anxiety - My perspective of the world

  • Bennie_R97's Avatar
    Have you ever sat on your sofa and thought about these existential questions about the world? Have you ever thought in the same way about climate change? Have you ever thought that these are linked to Eco-Anxiety? Do you even know what Eco-Anxiety is? 🧠

    Today we want to talk to you about Eco-Anxiety and the strategies you can use to tackle this.🙂

    For me personally, the recent Earthquake that hit Turkey with a catastrophic aftermath, has brought up a lot of these feelings... personally couldn't stop thinking about if climate change is to blame for that. The rises of temperatures, the changes in the weather, the oceans full or rubbish and so much more. Could these issues have caused it? Did anyone else feel the same?

    At times I find myself in a place where if I think too much or too hard about it, it really brings me to a state of anxiety and worries around what is going to happen in the future.
    Will the world be a safe place for my kids? What about the future generations? Are the older generations really trying to find a solution to the problem? Is there anything more as an individual I can do to be more responsible and eco friendly?

    All these feelings I have surrounding the climate is certainly what we would call Eco-Anxiety 🌍

    The US Global Research Program, looked into how climate change affects the physical and mental health as well as the community well-being.

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    With those in mind, this is what I have been doing to help my own Eco-Anxiety and I thought I would share them here with a hope they can help somebody else:

    • Climate change education, try to learn as much as you can about climate change and sustainability.
    • Being responsible and recycling while engaging in sustainable activities is a great way to get to know people and also have that feeling that there are so many people out there who feel exactly the same way about you.
    • Avoid things that can pollute the environment and look for alternatives.

    What are E.ON Next doing to help?

    Firstly, we have recognised that there is so much more that needs to be done and as is also our ethos to take care of our customers and community; with that being said, we have partnered with Force of Nature. Force of nature is an organisation which supports mobilising mindsets for climate action.

    Over on our blog we also frequently discuss steps in which we can take to look after our environment:

    🌍Reduce your carbon footprint

    Greener Homes

    What do you think about Eco-anxiety? Have you ever heard of this term before? Do you have any ideas that can be very helpful for people who could struggle with this ? We want to hear from you! 😊

    Also, if you feel you need some extra support around mental health or someone to have a chat with, these three organisations are there for you.

    Samaritans App
    Call:0300 123 3393 this is an information phone number for non emergency help
    Last edited by DebF_EONNext; 27-03-23 at 18:17.
  • 12 Replies

  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91

    we all inherit the world we’re born into and try to make the best of our time on earth.

    the problem of climate change would be easier to deal with if population growth was much slower, but I don’t see any prominent campaign on that front. The world will be different in the future but it always has been so. We adapt, it’s something that humans are remarkably good at.
    Current Eon Next customer, ex EDF, Zog and Symbio. Don't think dual fuel saves money and don't like smart meters. Chronologically Gifted. If I offend let me know by private message, but I’ll continue to express my opinions nonetheless.
  • Han_EONNext's Avatar
    Community Team
    Afternoon all 🌍

    I'm with you @meldrewreborn we are all here..and we aren't going so we've got to do what we can right now. I think that investing in more time and research into things such as renewable energy is most certainly the way to go. What I feel the most anxious about is that humans have altered at least 70% of the Earth and time is ticking to do something about it ⏳.

    Funnily enough the Independent released this today What is renewable energy? which has helped me to get to grips with what is happening and what we are doing about it.
    Last edited by Han_EONNext; 09-02-23 at 14:38.
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  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    Here's my take on things, right or wrong.

    Back in the 70's, we had our first large scale 'ecological panic' which was the hole in the ozone layer. If it carried on growing at the rate it was predicted to, we were all going to be exposed to large amounts of UV radiation leading to an increase in skin diseases and cancers. The scientific community put their collective efforts into trying to figure out what was going on and within a relatively short space of time, the culprit was found to be CFC's in refrigerants and aerosols. A pretty much global ban on the use of CFC's (except for very carefully controlled and regulated uses) and the problem is within a decade or two of being solved. There is still a 'hole' in the ozone layer but it is getting smaller year by year and the boffins say that it could well be eradicated by around 2040.

    Then, the big 'scare' in the 80s was acid rain. This was another 'man made' ecological disaster but science again got to the root cause. Emissions from coal fired power stations and 'dirty industry', predominantly originating in Eastern Europe. They were using vast amounts of high-sulphur, poor quality coal and with technology that was ten or twenty years behind the more developed Western nations. Again, 30 years on and the problem still exists but nowhere on the same scales as back then.

    So now we are where we are with climate change. Again, a potential eco disaster, but we know what needs to be done. Some climate issues are now bordering on irreversible, but there is still hope. But, even if we did everything we need to globally, politically and collectively, it would still take 'ozone layer' or 'acid rain' timescales for the problem to be halted and then hopefully mitigated.

    All these issues are down to human activity, and I have to agree with @meldrewreborn that one of the fundamental problems is the actual humans! There are simply too many of us. As far back as the 70's, leading figures in the science community were beginning to highlight the problem. The planet is becoming less able to respond to change or to even sustain the growing population, and as the population increases, the resources not only need to be stretched further, but the planet has to work harder to mitigate our use of those resources.

    In my opinion, which has been very much influenced by 'visionaries' like Isaac Asimov who began discussing the issue five decades ago, we not only have too many 'consumers' on the planet, but we're all consuming 'too much' per capita. Worse in developed countries historically but now being seriously overtaken by the developing world.

    The billions in India and China all aspire to the same 'standard of living' that we have enjoyed in the West. Cars, air conditioning and all the other 'trappings' of a technologically advanced society. But it cannot happen! Thirty years ago with the global population as it was back then, someone figured out that for everyone on Earth to have the same standard of living as a typical European, we would need three and a half 'Earths' to provide the necessary resources. If you took a typical American lifestyle, we would need around six 'Earths' worth of resources.

    Something has to give. The developing countries will continue to demand what we have in the West, but we in the West have no choice but to meet them half way. To wit, we need to stop what we are doing, back right off our 'excessive' consumption and resource use and show the developing world that it doesn't have to be that way. Can I see this happening? Not easily! But it needs to happen.

    Long out of print now, but if you find a copy on line or in a second hand bookshop, have a read of Asimov's 'The Left Hand Of The Electron'. It's a series of collected essays on many science subjects, and a very witty and amusing book which explains 'science' to the layman in easy to follow wording. I'd encourage you to read the last two chapters on the critical problem of global population, 'Stop!' and 'But how?'. Both written in the 1970s but perhaps more relevant to today than ever.
    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player. I DON'T work for or on behalf of EON.Next, but am willing to try and help if I can. Not on mains gas, mobile network or mains drainage. House heated almost entirely by baby dragons.
  • Tommysgirl's Avatar
    Very wise words there.
  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    Something else that popped into my head I read somewhere a while back. If you look at the consumerism or consumption of global population and score people on a scale from 1 to 10 where a 1 is an extremely low 'per capita' consumption of energy and resources and a 10 is an extremely high 'per capita' consumption, your average Western European rates a six or seven, an American scores a nine or ten and India and China are around a four or five, but aspiring to a seven or eight.

    To achieve a level of 'equality' where resources can be shared equally and everyone can have a 'common standard' and the human race has a sustainable future, everyone really needs to be around the 3.5 mark. That's an eye-opener!
  • Bennie_R97's Avatar
    @retrotecchie very interesting points you have made here, and yes I do agree with you, when humanity decided that is time to act upon a disaster like the ones mentioned by you in your previous comment, we do act very quickly on it. Although, as an Italian, I grew up with the idea that prevention is better than cure.

    Of course for many reasons we know we already have made environmental damage, this is why despite trying to find a 'cure' to the problem, 'prevention' is crucial and essential ( in my opinion).

    I want to be positive that countries are actually taking this matter seriously. Within my degree, I have before delivered work around Sustainability and it was interesting to study contemporary research around the subject that really helped me in understanding so much more around this topic.

    Looking at this matter from a sociological view, it is has been studied that the industrial revolution played a very important part in the start of the 'Eco domino effects' that we dealing with at the moment. Colonialism and Capitalism definitely played a big part as well. That is why, when the model's policy around sustainability was made, there was the need for an overall understanding of what the universal goal was supposed to be.

    With the COPS, they divided the West countries from the East countries. They also realised that the West has an historical responsibility when it comes to Gas emission based on the exploitation of countries through colonialism and capitalism.

    Of course America, Russia and China are the biggest emissions at the international level. Although China is still classified as a developing country. In my opinion, based on what I have read and study, the West or the developed countries have a higher responsibility in reaching the Net zero targets as soon as they can and support the developing countries in using infrastructures to help coping with the weather adversity that usually hits the poorer countries as an effect of climate change.
    @meldrewreborn I agree with you when we talk about population increase. Although we need to be very aware that thanks to the advance of medicine, the actual stats don't see an increase in birth as such, although longevity in a person's life. Also, recent stats need to be handled very carefully as they will be affected by some aspects of the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

    I made all these points to help in understanding Eco-anxiety and why is something that perhaps we should be talking more about. Climate change and its problems affect so many parts of our everyday lives like politics,policy,weather conditions, ethics, environment, people and so much more. I believe that talking more about these topics, bringing awareness and having a healthy chat about Sustainability, is what will get us to a greener world.

  • retrotecchie's Avatar
    Level 92

    I agree that prevention is better than cure. However, science cannot do anything to prevent the changes that have already happened. Yes, prevention now will hopefully stop things getting too much worse, but what we should be focussing on equally is mitigation of damage already done.

    It's better to prevent, but somewhat less expensive to mitigate now than it is to fork out for a 'cure' later on when it may already be too late.

  • meldrewreborn's Avatar
    Level 91

    Apparently the UN expects the world population to reach a peak of 10bn around 2100 then decline As communities develop their birth rate declines and around 2100 death rates will start to exceed birth rates. Whether the world can cope with the extra people in the next 80 years is perhaps debatable.
  • wizzo227's Avatar
    Level 21
    Bennie, I sympathise with your Eco-Anxious concerns but here say that there are two classes of anxiety, and knowing which is which can help you to divert concern to useful action.

    Firstly, there is such a thing as rational anxiety. From collated observations, we see that some very major changes are necessary to end up with a far future climate which is survivable. To reach for the happy-pills instead of doing something about it is certain doom, so if you feel anxious, seek and test information. Work out which sources are known liars; sometimes there is an obvious motive for wanting the whole world to sleepwalk on with "business as usual", printing and spending money in exchange for irreplaceable land materials and lives, with results including a high and rising worldwide CO2 which has certainly been messing with the weather. Occasionally, unfunded generosity might have that effect too, which worries me because some meanness is in my opinion not evil if only limiting generosity to my income surplus. If a part of the world with agricultural capacity to support a few million people now contains a lot of million, then worrisome things will happen there and it is not your fault if they do. To print money to buy coal to keep those survivors warm might seem kind, but that would in the long run hasten the desertification in the part of the world which once contained a magnificent city named Palmira.

    Back to positive things which you can do. You should want to increase your sustainable capacity to live and to help others to live. In the context of the worldwide lemming-march towards faster consumption, you can aim to maximise your income and spend most of it on net gainful things. For example, to make a plan to have bought a house within cycling distance of your main workplace and fitted it with generous solar panels before you are 30 years old. Lots of people spend as much on throwaway things such as the plush car with the heated electric seats. Some things are gainful to your future capacity to get more done, and other things are not. The usefulness of anxiety is that it helps to reject the goals which you don't need, and to concentrate on the goals which you will need. Hopefully you will end up with a sustainable surplus with which you can help out in emergencies.

    Don't suck a happy pill and wait and see what happens next. Always seek and test information.

    Secondly there can be irrational anxiety, against which best defence is better factual information:

    I looked up some earthquake stats and Turkey gets a lot of events on the list. Therefore the terrible earthquake which hit Turkey/Syria last week could happen irrespective of the CO2 and climate troubles which worry me every day. Therefore you have one less thing to worry about - there seems to me to be no causative link between climate and the occurance of that earthquake, and a reasonable baseline expectation that the earthquake would happen anyway.

    Having ticked off that one, back to the task list of what to do next about Eco-Anxiety. Well first is to reclassify your concerns as Not A Mental Health Problem and second to go back to plans to collect materials and land which will assist you to avoid giving money to business-as-usual merchants any more than minimally necessary, and end up with a sustainable surplus with which you can help people.