Guest Post Provided by Maggie Berry of EcoWorries.com
Climate change is a complex problem affecting marine ecosystems across the world. The US Department of State reports that rising global temperatures risk marine life. Additionally, it’s causing rising sea levels resulting in loss of life and livelihoods in areas that earlier were not adversely affected by global warming.
With numerous unprecedented events happening one after the other, it’s normal for folks to feel stressed and uncertain regarding the future. However, while the news on television and social media is predominantly grim, there are various ways we, at an individual level, can make a positive difference in combating global warming and reducing climate anxiety.
So, take a deep breath, ready your heart, and let’s embark on a transformative exploration that will leave you inspired, empowered, and armed with the tools to positively impact your well-being and the health of our oceans.
What Is Climate Anxiety?
Climate anxiety refers to a psychological and emotional response triggered by the overwhelming concern for the consequences of climate change. It’s a specific form of anxiety that arises from the awareness of our planet’s environmental challenges, such as rising global temperatures, extreme weather events, loss of biodiversity, and the potential impacts on human well-being.
Individuals experiencing climate anxiety may feel a sense of helplessness, fear, or sadness in response to the environment’s current and projected future state. They may worry about the well-being of future generations, the vulnerability of ecosystems, and the lack of collective action to address climate change effectively.
Climate anxiety can manifest differently in individuals, ranging from mild distress to more severe forms of anxiety or even depression. The constant exposure to distressing news and the magnitude and complexity of environmental issues can contribute to this emotional response.
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4 Ways To Address Your Mounting Climate Anxiety
Let’s delve into a few practical and empowering strategies that can help us address climate anxiety while actively contributing to preserving marine life. The intricate connection between our emotional well-being and the health of our oceans calls for a proactive approach that goes beyond mere worry.
1. Find the Cause of Your Stress
The first step towards combating your climate anxiety is to hone in on its cause. Today’s media consistently promotes negativity on every platform imaginable, from TV and social media to the radio waves crashing into your car. If watching or hearing the constant drone of negative news is causing you to be stressed out, it’s time to cut back on news consumption.
One of the best ways to do this is to remove social media applications from your phone. While you can still seek to read news online, removing the uncontrollable elements of social media can significantly reduce exposure to such negative news.
2. Create a Personal Climate Action Plan
The actions you take as an individual will have a cascading effect on those around you. Once you start making positive changes, your friends, family, and colleagues might also be motivated to do so.
The best way to start this process is to create a personal climate action plan. A few items to include on this plan may include:
- Recycling at Home
- Eliminating Plastic Use
- Walking More Often
Recycling at Home
The simple act of segregating waste reduces the need to obtain new raw materials and keep trash out of the ocean. Numerous everyday items, such as plastic water bottles and cardboard food boxes, can be recycled to recreate the original product. All you need to do is segregate your waste and keep it in the correct trash can.
Eliminating Plastic Use
Whether grocery store bags, storage containers, phone cases, or other items, it’s always best to avoid buying plastic. Instead, purchase products made of natural materials, such as wood, bamboo, jute, etc., that are long-lasting and 100% recyclable.
Vehicles are one of the major sources of releasing excess CO2 into our atmosphere, which increases global temperatures. While the use of cars cannot be completely eliminated, carpooling is a great way to reduce CO2 emissions. Rather than each person using a vehicle, 4-5 folks can travel in one, reducing emissions by fourfold!
Walking More Often
Walking more reduces carbon emissions from vehicles and promotes a sustainable lifestyle by minimizing the negative impact on the environment. Consider moving to a more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood that allows you to walk more often.
3. Start an Eco-Friendly Business
Compared to making changes as an individual, a business will have a bigger impact and
influence on combating climate change. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Creating ocean-friendly clothing by using organic and biodegradable materials.
- Starting a furniture refurbishing business to resell old furniture and keep them out of the ocean.
When choosing the best structure for the business, consider forming an LLC. It will protect personal assets from business-related liabilities and bring tax benefits. Rather than investing time and effort in registering the business yourself, consider using a formation service.
4. Digitize Your Business
As a green business, you’ll have an obligation to follow eco-friendly practices. Hence, consider adopting a digital-first approach rather than using a paper-based approach that simply leads to a strain on natural resources. Not only will this make business management easy, but it will also save you money that can be used towards organizing or donating to eco-friendly causes.
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How Overcoming Your Climate Anxiety Benefits Marine Life
Addressing climate anxiety not only benefits your own well-being but also plays a crucial role in protecting marine life and the health of our oceans. Here are some marine-protecting benefits that arise from addressing climate anxiety:
Make More Sustainable Lifestyle Choices
Addressing climate anxiety makes you more conscious of your lifestyle choices and their environmental impact. Adopting sustainable practices, such as reducing energy consumption, minimizing single-use plastics, and making eco-friendly purchasing decisions, helps mitigate climate change and reduces pollution that can harm marine ecosystems.
Support Conservation Efforts
Climate anxiety can drive you to actively support organizations and initiatives dedicated to marine conservation. Whether through donations, volunteering, or advocating for stronger environmental policies, your engagement helps protect vulnerable marine species, restore habitats, and preserve biodiversity.
Gain Awareness and Education
Overcoming climate anxiety enables you to become a powerful advocate for the ocean. By staying informed and educating others about the impacts of climate change on marine life, you raise awareness and inspire collective action. Building a knowledgeable and engaged community is crucial for fostering a collective commitment to protect and conserve our oceans.
Promote Sustainable Fishing Practices
Addressing climate anxiety encourages a more mindful approach to fishing practices. Supporting sustainable fishing methods, such as responsible sourcing, avoiding overfishing, and promoting marine protected areas, helps maintain the balance of marine ecosystems and preserves fish populations for future generations.
Engage in Political Collaboration
Overcoming climate anxiety empowers you to engage in collective efforts and political advocacy. By joining forces with like-minded individuals and organizations, you can influence policies that prioritize marine conservation, promote renewable energy sources, and encourage sustainable practices that mitigate the effects of climate change on our oceans.
Address Your Climate Anxiety To Protect Marine Life
Understanding the power of our actions and choices can create a ripple effect of positive change reaching far beyond ourselves. The journey to protect our oceans starts with conquering our own anxieties and embracing a sense of hope–knowing that our efforts can make a real difference.
Now, it’s time for action! Armed with a new sense of knowledge and inspiration, transform your abilities into meaningful steps. Reduce your carbon footprint, support organizations dedicated to marine conservation, advocate for sustainable practices and spread awareness within your community. Every small action counts. Together, we can protect our ocean’s fragile ecosystems for future generations.
Maggie Berry is an eco-warrior and founder of Eco Worries. Eco Worries is dedicated to providing tips, guidance, and support for anyone experiencing climate anxiety.