I have eco-anxiety

A woman facing a foggy forest.

     The earth is dying. Never in my life have I consciously realised that until a few months ago. We know what is happening and I won’t be talking about that. However in this article I will write about my eco-anxiety. 

     I remember having my first panic attack about the consequences of climate change in January. As a rarely anxious person I have never really experienced anxiety or stress, except for the few times when a fear of death would suddenly wrap my body. Even though I have always been aware of climate change, I did not really realise its damages. There were more and more articles and interviews about it, also conferences summaries and strikes. I came to be around people who have a « zero-waste » lifestyle and who are really invested in it. Since then I have tried to lower my carbon footprint by buying reusable bottles, bags and using less plastic or buying less products with plastic, furthermore I have been a pescatarian for a year now. My mind has continued trying to wrap itself around the horrifying consequences of climate change, but as I witnessed an unusual hot winter even for the south of France it brought me to further reflect

     Soon I started having regular (if not daily) panic-attacks about climate change in my bed before sleep. I fear the future, for myself and for the next generations to come. I am afraid that the governments won’t change their politics enough, am afraid of the social and economical crises it will cause, I am afraid of the humanitarian crises it will increase. I am scared that I won’t live peacefully. I am scared that I will never age like my grandparents, I am scared of the behaviour of the people when facing the crises. Will there be civil wars ? Will it be some sort of apocalypse ? Will we have to survive and how if we’ll have to? I fear of wasting my time, of not doing enough, I fear of being selfish and judged for wishing a peaceful and simple life. All theses questions and scenarios I make up in my head keep me from sleeping. But apparently I am not the only one. I have read recently an article about the development of support groups for people who have eco-anxiety. Besides I feel wrong for having this anxiety as I am currently living a nice life; I am in college and I enjoy my studies, I have a supportive family, I have friends, I have a job too, I am not facing discrimination and I can eat my fill. Despite my current situation, I still do have eco-anxiety. 

     I felt like I should talk about it, firstly because maybe some of you feel that way too and can feel understood, and secondly because as Greta Thunberg said « I want you to panic » and that’s actually how I feel on many days. At least it’s making me change for a better, more eco-friendly lifestyle, and even though I am aware there is progress to do I encourage my relatives to change some of their habits too. We are all playing a part in that matter, whatever act we do is not nothing, and I know that saving the earth is going to be one of my fights.   

Thank you for reading, I wish you a beautiful day.