It’s Earth Day today, and for many this is a day to celebrate our beautiful planet and all that it has to offer. It’s also a day to reflect upon what we might not be doing so well as individuals and as a society in order to better care for our world. This reflection often causes people to feel stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed about the state of the environment when it comes to climate change, biodiversity loss, waste production, and other sustainability-related issues. This collection of feelings is known as “eco-anxiety” and, according to Medical News Today, it affects approximately 70% of people with 51% of people feeling helpless and frozen in fear over what the future of our planet could look like.
If you relate to these feelings of eco-anxiety, understand that they are completely normal and natural, especially when we are bombarded with intense media headlines on the daily. However, while these feelings are normal, we at Pretty Clean Shop believe that it’s important to try to work through our eco-anxieties so that we can take action for change rather than letting our hopelessness lead to apathy. To help you do just that, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips to help you overcome your eco-anxiety and transition from being an Eco-Worrier to an Eco-Warrior!
STEP 1: Acceptance, Courage, Commitment
The first step to overcoming eco-anxiety is acceptance. Accept that you do not know what the future holds, accept what you can’t change, and accept that you can only change your own actions. Once you have accepted these things, you can find courage to change what you can. Rather than letting the eco-anxiety overwhelm you to the point of being frozen, try to channel your energy into finding ways to live a more sustainable life and contribute to creating a more sustainable society. This starts with a commitment to becoming an Eco-Warrior, meaning that you will try your best to align your actions with your values in your everyday life and do what you can to make a difference.
STEP 2: Paradigm Shift (Choosing Hope)
Once you are ready to become an Eco-Warrior, it’s important to work towards a paradigm shift where you can imagine a world that changes for the better. After all, how can you commit to being an Eco-Warrior if you don’t truly believe that our world could possibly become more sustainable in the long-run? Eco-Warriors must find and choose hope. Imagine how beautiful the world could be, and then imagine how you can take steps to creating a world like that. Change the narrative and get a new view in order to find what you could be working towards. A great way to do this is to look for positive news. We often see headlines about the disasters of our world, but how often do we see headlines of the amazing community sustainability work happening in our own backyards? Seek it out and use it as inspiration to move forward.
STEP 3: Community
Don’t know where to start or how to make change? There are plenty of people in your community who are already doing amazing work who you could learn from. Find a support system of people working towards sustainable change in their own ways to inspire you to do the same. Even if the people around you currently are not interested in becoming Eco-Warriors at the moment, you can seek others who understand where you’re coming from and who can support you along the way. Whether these are people you meet online, through a workshop, at school, while volunteering, or at Pretty Clean Shop (we’ve always got your back!), find your community and work together to make big changes.
STEP 4: One Step at a Time
Now that you’ve committed to hope, became inspired to help create a better world, and found a community support system, you’re ready to transform from an Eco-Worrier into an Eco-Warrior! Funnel your energy into making something happen and taking action in your community and in your personal life. Recognize what actions need to be taken for a more sustainable world or community and take control and ownership over those actions. Remember to take it one step at a time and be proud of yourself for doing the best you can with where you’re at. You may just inspire others in your community and create a ripple effect of sustainable change!
While our world’s sustainability issues can be overwhelming, it is essential for us to recognize our individual importance in the collective action that is needed to create a better world. When we work to overcome our eco-anxiety, we are able to recognize what the world needs and how we can use our own skills, strengths, and passions to contribute to overcoming those needs. Here at Pretty Clean Shop, we hope to support our community to become Eco-Warriors not only on Earth Day, but every other day as well.