Updated: Jul 12
Should we be concerned about climate change or is eco-anxiety simply the psychological aftermath of a hyperbolic crisis?
Should we have eco-anxiety too?
Also known as eco-distress, eco-anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association as "the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change and the associated concern for one's future and that of next generations ". In 2012. Glenn Albrecht defined it as “the generalized sense that the ecological foundations of existence are in the process of collapse." The symptoms include the following: slight cases of anxiety, stress, sleep disturbances, nervousness, etc. Some people have reported experiencing so much anxiety and fear about the future with climate change that they choose not to have children. This was largely due to an overwhelmingly negative expectation of the future with climate change. Natural disasters, which are becoming more frequent and more extreme as a result of climate change - such as the fires that devastated Australia or Cyclone Idai, which wiped Mozambique's fourth-largest city (Beira) off the map - have caused many people to suffer from eco-anxiety without even knowing what it is.
Stats Around India
is the percentage of people who believe climate change would have a great deal of impact on their lives
is the number of cities NITI Aayog has named, that will be underwater on account of global warming including Mumbai and Chennai, by 2050
If we look at our lifestyle, one might see several small but impactful practices that contribute to global warming. Using plastic and Styrofoam, running your air conditioner, eating a meat-heavy diet, etc. might trigger anxiety. Feelings of guilt and shame for your impact may go hand in hand with feelings of powerlessness, driven by the clock ticking away your limited time to create change. Relaxation exercises are the best sustainable options for a life with low stress, besides making climate change an integral and crucial factor in our lifestyle habits and consumption patterns.
Calling Earth “Mother” makes our relation with nature pure and personal. Caring for its wellbeing isn’t just another responsibility but also self-preservation as it is affecting the quality of our life – from the heavy air we breathe to the contaminated water we drink; from the decreasing reserves of food, we eat to the falling GDP which will mar our future sustenance.
Staggering Results of different Surveys
Our Inaction is costing us more than we can stave off
Flooding in India over the last decade caused $3 billion in economic damage—accounting for 10% of global economic losses from flooding.
One study finds that India's GDP in the year 2100 will be reduced by 90 percent if the world reaches three degrees Celsius of warming.
Rising temperatures will jeopardize India's economic development through different channels, including falling agriculture productivity, impact on public health, reduced labor productivity, and sea-level rise.
One study found that India's GDP would be around 25 percent higher today, were it not for the current costs of global warming.
According to research by BBC, 75% feel that taking action won’t make a difference and only 27% feel that they need to make changes to their lifestyle.
We must remember though we can’t erase all the wrongs mother earth has internalized but each and every step matter, even if it is small. It doesn’t mean to leave all the comforts of your home and live in a cave but make wise choices. Hedonistic Sustainability is the solution, i.e., you don’t have to compromise comfort for sustainability. The new technology has enabled us to reinvent nature’s resources in a conscious manner. The question is will we be taking time to do so? The fast way is not always the easiest or wisest. There are several brands that are making efforts to provide us with a lifestyle that is environmentally thoughtful and yet lets you enjoy the comfort you deserve.
What can we do?
The effect of eco-anxiety can be minimized as can be the guilt that is weighing you down by doing your bit for our Earth.
Knowing the enemy is fundamental. Raise your own and others' awareness of the problem. Be educated about climate change.
Commit to conscious consumption and recycling. Search for options that are eco-friendly, produce zero waste and can help you reduce your plastic consumption.
Do sustainable activities, such as setting up an urban garden or plogging or promoting sustainability.
Commit to sustainable mobility. There are several options in the market and they can make a substantial impact.
Avoid small things that have a big impact, such as leaving the tap running or throwing chewing gum on the ground, or using poly bags.
Some furniture and lifestyle products by Mianzi that are sustainably made from bamboo and create zero waste.
With years and deepening environmental crises, the number of people affected is going to grow. We as brands and innovators need to take action and introduce lifestyle alternatives that provide consumer choices to tackle the climate crisis. An active lifestyle will effectively fend off anxiety and maneuver the strategy against climate change.
We have researched and gathered the stats, facts and other figures, and opinions from different sources as mentioned here.
How the people of India live with climate change and what communication can do Varinder Gambhir and Prerna Kumar. [BBC Media Action]
By 2050, Mumbai and Chennai will be underwater. What are we doing? – By Lalatendu Mishra
71% Indians think that humans are responsible for climate change: YouGov survey
Climate Crisis Will Impose Widespread Catastrophic Impact on India: Study- By IANS
Eco-reproductive concerns in the age of climate change. By Matthew Schneider-Mayerson & Kit Ling Leong
Eco-anxiety: the psychological aftermath of the climate crisis By Iberdrola
Illustration Credits: Happiful.com and AdaJusic.com