Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Psychiatric advice to engage in green activism to overcome intense feelings of eco-anxiety is producing some fascinating outcomes.
News about climate change can be distressing. Here’s how to cope with ‘ecoanxiety’
MONDAY 15 OCTOBER 2018 5:23PM
By Ange McCormack
After hearing about a damning report into climate change last week – which basically gives the world 12 years to halve our emissions or else face uncontrollable climate change – 27-year-old Caitlin Grace sent Hack an email.
In the subject line Caitlin wrote, “Ecoanxiety”.
“I’ve gone full existential crisis,” Caitlin wrote while reeling from the IPCC findings.
“I’ve been having several panic attacks a day, can’t concentrate and just have a constant overwhelming feeling of impending doom.”
Caitlin Grace told Hack that going about her daily life in the last week has been pretty surreal.
“When I’ve been out and about I’ve been looking around at people and thinking, why are we just going about our normal lives?
The Australian Psychology Society has developed a bunch of resources to help people cope with feeling anxious about climate change. Dr Burke says one of the first things to do if you’re feeling anxious about climate change is share what you’re going through with your friends and family.
“One of the more dangerous things you can do is push the feelings away and ignore the problem and then not do anything about it.”
It’s a strategy that Caitlin Grace is trying too.
“My partner and I have talked about it heaps, and just today we’ve gone and bought a bunch of tofu and we’re going to phase ourselves into veganism,” Caitlin says. “I think it is the biggest thing individuals can do to help the environment. I’m really excited about it.
Caitlin Grace is becoming a vegan after reading last week’s IPCC report
“I’ve never been to a protest before but I’m now feeling the need to mobilise – I’m keen to get out on the street and be part of it.”
One question not addressed in the article – do green activists receive a moral license to take a break from vegetarianism while actually participating in a climate protest?
It can get cold and wet on those mean streets, a tofu burger in such circumstances might not be enough.
Lets not forget, by actually participating in a climate protest green activists are doing a lot more virtue signalling than simply going vegan in their ordinary lives.
Update (EW): Video explaining why you should vote green. Contains rude language.
Update 2 (EW): Sadly the classic comedy video “Why I voted green” (original link here) is now displaying an error. It may have been deleted by the ABC, the people who originally published it. A rather sad piece of cultural vandalism if this removal is intentional.
Update 3 (EW): Another copy, see how long this lasts