Climate change anxiety

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by Spectacularsalmon, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. Spectacularsalmon

    Spectacularsalmon Enthusiastic dork

    I live in pretty much constant fear of how bad climate change is, and how people do nothing about it, and how I can't do anything about it. I feel like planning for the future is pointless when I might not even have a future. I've been spiraling about this a lot lately, and then I start googling stuff,which makes it worse. I used to have anxiety about stuff within my control, but now everything I'm afraid of is out of my control and I feel powerless and empty. How can I live with this?
  2. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    hey just 'cause no one's replied to this

    i've been mulling over an answer to this, and i still don't have a good one, but i didn't want to leave you hanging with nothing

    i know my solution to anxiety about this was to become a lowkey doomsday prepper. i ... can't really recommend that path, because even i think it's a) a little excessive and b) definitely on the crazy/neurotic side

    i don't have a better or more in depth answer rn, but i've been and will continue to be thinking about this, and will get back to you
    • Agree x 2
  3. Wingyl

    Wingyl Allegedly Magic

    i saw this whole thing about little things you can do to help, like asking your apartment building if they'll swap their incandesents for LEDs if you buy some LEDs for them so they don't have to do the research dance, or growing some of your own food (you can grow stuff like bok choy, potatoes, and onions from kitchen offcuts)
    and then there's things like yelling at relevant politicians over the phone

    i will try to find it later, but not right now because uni wifi's proxy server
  4. LadyNighteyes

    LadyNighteyes Wicked Witch of the Radiant Historia Fandom

    I can provide some info about yelling at relevant politicians, if need be. *is employed by a relevant politician to assist in them being yelled at*

    Also, if it helps, it's worth bearing in mind that while climate change is hella bad, the way it's bad and dangerous is not Day-After-Tomorrow-esque instantaneous apocalypses. Climate change is not a "none of us can hope to live to old age" sort of problem; it's an "a lot of things we take for granted are going to go away and we don't know what will happen" sort of problem. There are places where people live now that will become uninhabitable, a lot of longstanding weather patterns are going to change, and a lot of ecosystems are going to be devastated, but it's not going to annihilate all life on earth.
    • Useful x 2
    • Agree x 1
  5. Wingyl

    Wingyl Allegedly Magic

  6. latitans

    latitans zounds, scoob

    hi hello, first of all, I relate to this so much. This has what has helped me get over my paralyzing fear enough to a) actually live in the world as a human bing and b) have energy to actually dedicate towards trying to change things.

    First, personal action. This website (, run by a scientist who studies climate change, has a lot of very good information. Particularly useful to me was the first infographic, showing the personal actions that one can take to reduce their climate impact. As the post the Wingyl linked says, personal actions can help one feel more in control while one works to address structural problems. Not everyone can do every action, obviously, for a wide variety of reasons. But it's good to have a sense of what you can do, and how it helps. (NB: Something that I've seen added to that list later is that reducing waste is much more important than recycling, because a variety of political and economic forces mean that recycling rarely actually happens. Even if you put it in the right bin, it might still end up in the landfill. So consuming less is probably more effective over-all.)

    Second, addressing structural problems. There are a lot of different ways to do this--getting involved with community organizing, spreading awareness, voting, pressuring candidates to take a stand on climate issues, advocating for open borders to make life easier for climate-change refugees, etc.. Again, not every style of activism works for everybody. It can take a while to find what you want to do.

    Third, and for me most important--when you find yourself paralyzed by anxiety and fear, ask yourself, is this helpful? Who is this helping? Lying awake torturing yourself with disaster images makes you feel bad, and doesn't help anyone. Beating yourself up doesn't help anyone. But if you allow yourself to rest, allow yourself time to recharge, value the restorative powers of joy, you can put energy into helping someone tomorrow.
    • Agree x 4
    • Useful x 1
  7. Spectacularsalmon

    Spectacularsalmon Enthusiastic dork

    Thank you all so much, your advice means a lot to me. I think my best bet for now is to focus on things I can do, because the only thing that really stops my anxiety is taking action, even if it's kind of small in the grand scheme of things.
  8. Spectacularsalmon

    Spectacularsalmon Enthusiastic dork

    So, this is still a thing I’m dealing with. I started college, and being around people who acknowledge that climate change is real and actually give a fuck is empowering and makes me feel less alone. That being said, I still fall into the habit of binge reading worst case scenario stuff and freaking the fuck out, or going through comment threads of deniers knowing full well it’s going to make my anxiety worse. It’s this shitty part of my brain that feels like if I look away I’m being ignorant. I have this weird compulsion to make myself feel worse and spiral more once I’ve already started freaking out, even though logically I know it does nothing but hurt me. If anyone has some advice on how to break that kind of cycle, I’d really appreciate it.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
  9. bioluminiscence

    bioluminiscence probably not a sword?

    I've also been struggling with climate anxiety and while I can't give you an exact answer, I remember what got me out of that spiral was starting to remind myself whenever I would read such an article that whether I know how bad things are getting or not, me knowing it alone isn't going to have a positive impact on the climate, especially considering my social circle largely already knows about these issues so there's no need spreading how bad things are.

    So, for every article about how horrible things are and how horrible things are going to get, I would search out information about what is causing these things to happen and how people are trying to change things on a structural level, because reading up on that is more useful than simply reading up on the bad effects it's having, and instead of producing despair produces hope that there is a way to fight it. Essentially, I took that feeling of "if I don't know about this I'm ignorant" and turned it into "If I have to know about this I need to know about the best ways to combat this first and foremost".
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