The fires, floods and droughts brought on by climate change can have devastating consequences. Just watching it happen can spur feelings of eco-anxiety.
These thoughts can bring with them a sense of fear. And while some rationalize their way around these feelings, others become emboldened by them.
“One of the climate emotions is love. And we fight for what we love and we fight best when we’re fighting for what we love. So, I would encourage people to think in that way.” — Ash Sanders, award-winning writer, journalist and podcast host.
Listen: How to manage anxiety around climate change.
Ash Sanders is an award-winning writer, journalist, and podcast host of “Unfinished: Short Creek,” which tells the story of two very different communities that exist across the border from one another. She says fighting to combat climate change out of love is often better than fighting out of fear.
“One of the climate emotions is love. And we fight for what we love and we fight best when we’re fighting for what we love. So, I would encourage people to think in that way, I think that that could be a very empowering thing that is more sustainable than acting maybe out of fear alone,” says Sanders.
Susan Clayton is a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the College of Wooster. She says anxiety is tied to our uncertainty about the consequences of climate change, and that taking action in your own community can be helpful.
“Taking action, again, can help us to feel that we are actively responding to a situation as opposed to just being passively affected by it, and that can be associated with better mental health,” says Clayton.