Putting An End To Eco-Anxiety

Putting An End To Eco-Anxiety
Main Topic
Health – Mental
Additional Topic(s)
Solidarity - Civic Activities
Solidarity - Participation
1-2 hours
Implementation Mode
● To understand eco-anxiety and the ways in which it affects the learner.

● To discover ways to alleviate the impact of eco-anxiety.

● To increase the resource pool available to young people and youth workers for managing eco-anxiety.

Expected Results

Upon completing this activity, the young person will understand eco-anxiety, its impacts, and measures young people can take to nurture and support climate action, while managing eco-anxiety and avoiding eco-paralysis.
Overview of Activity
This introduction to "https://www.iberdrola.com/social-commitment/what-is-ecoanxiety">eco-anxiety was developed for young people who are experiencing eco-anxiety. It is intended to provide young people with the baseline understanding of eco-anxiety, and ways in which a young person can alleviate eco-anxiety or "https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/behavioral-health-partners/bhp-blog/march-2020/coping-with-climate-change-anxiety.aspx#:~:text=%22Eco%2Dparalysis%22%20refers%20to,(e.g.%20denial)%20become%20activated.">eco-paralysis. To some, eco-anxiety is a relatively new concept however there are fantastic resources, workshops, podcasts, and media which have been developed in line with the academic research available on eco-anxiety. Similar to anxiety, eco-anxiety is devastating the lives on young people. In order to manage eco-anxiety, we must first understand the root cause.
Description of Activity
This activity is designed to provide young people with a simple activity they can do when they are experiencing anxiety, eco-anxiety or eco-paralysis and provide young people with a bank of resources, which tare accessible to them when they experience eco-anxiety. An introduction to eco-anxiety, the root causes, and ways to alleviate it in young people will be presented through a series of videos, information slides and peer discussion. This will guide the learner in understanding the behaviours and attitudes required to manage eco-anxiety before it manifests into eco-paralysis.

The bank of resources is designed to include multiple forms of media for the youth workers and young people to engage with.

1. Organisation

Take A4 paper and cut in half.

● Each participant will receive 2 halves for use in activities.

2. Introduction to Eco Anxiety – 30 minutes

Eco-anxiety is a tough topic to discuss, start by completing a mindfulness exercise to ground learners in the activity and encourage a safe and open learning space. – 5 minutes

● Start by showing this video: Do you have eco-anxiety?

● Ask learners to reflect for 5-minutes on the video and their understanding of anxiety where it relates to the environment. Here are some questions to prompt the learner:

o Does the current climate crisis create negative emotions for me?

o Can I identify these emotions?

o Do these emotions ever stop me from partaking in actions against climate change?

o Has eco-anxiety ever distracted me from school, hobbies, having fun, spending time with friends/family?

● For a further 15 minutes, ask learners (if they are comfortable) to share some of their responses and discuss – What are the common or uncommon causes of eco-anxiety amongst learners?

3. Pocket Action Activity – 10 minutes

The idea behind this activity is to create a reminder for learners that there are things we can control and things that are completely out of one’s control.

o On the first piece of paper, ask learners to write one thing they can change or action (this must be something the learner is capable of actioning when they face eco-paralysis)

o Ask learners to flip the piece of paper. On the back learners must write something that worries them but due to reasons beyond their control they cannot immediately action this issue.

o Encourage learners to keep this piece of paper and take it with them wherever they go (keep in purse/wallet/pocket). Whenever they begin to feel overwhelmed by the climate crisis they can read their pocket action and are reminded to focus on the things they can action now/by themselves/with their peers etc.

4. Managing Eco-Anxiety – 25 minutes

Divide learners into peer led discussion groups.

● Ask the groups to share their experience with eco-anxiety.

● Ask learners to discuss ways in which they managed their experience with eco-anxiety.

Discuss the 15 ways to manage eco-anxiety included in How to Cope with Eco-anxiety

5. Eco-Anxiety Resource Bank

● Before finishing up, work with the learners to create a bank of supportive materials which they can refer back to when experiencing eco-anxiety and share with their peers. – Share this bank as a follow up resource.

Here are some resources to start with:

● Apps:

o AWorld in Support of ActNow – UN guide for living sustainably and tips for individual action

● Podcasts:

o For What It’s Earth

o TED Climate

o Climate Questions

o “Eco-Anxiety. What is it, and how can we deal with it?” – For What It’s Earth Episode 80

o “Understanding Eco-Anxiety and Best Practice to reduce anxiety” and “Overcoming Eco-Anxiety – Guided Meditation with Tonglen Practice” – Meditate, Manifest, and Grow

● Spotify Playlists (Music):

o International Climate Strike

o Beats of Climate Justice

o Vibes from the Frontline

● Spotify Playlists (Audio Short Stories):

o “Twenty Seventy-Two” – Spotify Studios

● Documentaries/DocuSeries:

o “Thank you for the Rain”, directed by Julia Dahr

o “2040”, directed by Damon Gameau

o “An Inconvenient Truth”

o Down to Earth with Zac Efron

o Rotted

● Books:

o This Changes Everything – Naomi Klein

o Climate Justice – Mary Robinson

o A Short, Hopeful Guide to Climate Change – Oisin McGann

6. Finishing up

To finish up, ask participants to share one action they will take to improve their emotional relationship with climate action.
Sources & Additional Materials
● Paper & pen;

● IT equipment with internet access – such as a smartphone or laptop.
Additional Notes

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