Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t JoNova; According to the ABC, you should deal with the climate guilt of using disposable nappies and styrofoam coffee cups by remembering its really everyone’s job to fix climate change, and that you are not personally responsible for fixing our carbon intensive society.
Climate distress is real and it’s rational. Here’s how to manage it
You’ve got the reusable cups and bags, the beeswax wraps, the shampoo bar.
You collect your cans and soft plastics and you compost, recycle and reuse what you can.
You research brands so you can support sustainable, environmentally conscious businesses.
Why? Because you’re trying to do your bit for the environment and climate.
But if you find that when you can’t do these things it causes you to feel anxious, guilty or hopeless, you might have something called climate distress.
So how are you supposed to manage the threat to our very existence and your day-to-day life to somehow keep your mental health in check?
No-one is perfect
First up, recognise that you’re not always going to be able to make the environmental choice and be the perfect Instagrammable eco-warrior.
“That can be at an individual level, around the things that we do in our household, or around the choices that we make around whether we ride or drive,” Dr Burke says.
“It could involve writing to, or emailing, politicians or leaders of businesses that are doing environmentally destructive things.”
Jess Hamilton, one of the hosts of Greenpeace’s Heaps Better podcast, recommends finding out where your banks and super funds are investing your money and changing providers if you are not happy with the answer.
“It all comes back to money,” Jess says.
“The power of thousands of people doing that does change minds and does have impacts on AGMs (Annual General Meetings) and does have impacts on the way directors are investing our money.”
…Read more: https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/climate-distress-and-how-to-manage-it/100029078
If you are able bodied, I can assure you it is entirely possible to make a massive dent in your personal carbon footprint, through simple choices such as growing your own food. During the short sharp economic freeze which followed Sept 11th, I needed to trim a few bills, so I started cultivating vegetables in my back yard. I’m not saying I went completely independent from the grocery store, but for 3 months in Summer, my household vegetable purchases dropped almost to zero. If I had planted high yield starch crops like potato or sweet corn, I wouldn’t have needed any store purchased vegetables.
All over the world there are affordable rural or suburban properties with enough land that eco-nuts could genuinely live out their low carbon fantasies. Australian rural regions are crying out for people to relocate to their district – they are so desperate, sometimes they offer land for less than the cost of a cup of coffee. Britain is more expensive, but still has affordable rural properties: you can buy a house with land in Powys, Wales for £50,000 or less. The USA has entire abandoned towns, so I’m guessing there is cheap arable land available somewhere.
You don’t need a lot of land. Even growing veggies in a decent size back yard, like the garden at the top of this page, is enough to significantly reduce your personal carbon footprint. You probably need a few acres if you want to go totally independent, but even going partially independent would make a substantial difference to your personal carbon footprint.
So why don’t all eco-fanatics choose to do this? For the same reason the eco-guilty buy disposable nappies and coffee in single use cups. Because most of them are too lazy to get off their butts and make a genuine personal effort.
Feeling guilty, having a good cry, blaming others, writing a few letters and demanding everyone else fix their imaginary problems, before sitting down to a good takeout meal served in styrofoam containers. It might be hypocritical, but its a lot easier than getting a spade out and digging a little dirt, or spending a few hours on your knees in the muck pulling weeds.