“What do I tell my kids?”

How to move from ecoanxiety to eco-action

“So – what do you do?” a person I met this week asked. (My wife was not there to warn her ‘don’t get him started!!’)  A nice conversation about climate change and sustainability followed, after which she asked, “Okay – now what do I tell my kids?”

A great question.  Ecoanxiety is increasing among people of all ages these days, fed by an abundance of gloomy climate news combined with feelings of powerlessness.  But anxiety and inaction bring us no closer to solutions; if anything, they just make things worse.

So if you know someone struggling with ecoanxiety – whether a child, another family member, a friend, a colleague or yourself – and unsure what to do, why not use these four steps to help turn that negative energy into action and purpose:

  1. Acknowledge and validate: ask them to express the emotions they are feeling through conversation, art, writing, drama, dance, videography or some other form of self-expression; share that they’re not alone in feeling the way they do; acknowledge that their concern is well founded because as the old expression goes, “if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention”; and point out that anxiety simply shows they care.
  2. Give hope and inspiration by pointing out that renewables like wind and solar are getting cheaper every day and are being deployed faster than ever before; that electric vehicles are getting cheaper and more popular; that some corporations, communities and countries are making great strides; that many amazing people of all ages all over the world are calling for aggressive action and working on solutions; that it’s not too late to prevent the worst of climate change.
  3. Give direction: offer suggestions for concrete things that they can do within their sphere of influence, like conserving energy, reducing waste, learning more about climate change, planting trees or – this is a big one – connecting with elected leaders to demand action.  Because doing something – anything – is always better than doing nothing, and taking action is pretty good therapy too.
  4. Teach resilience, love, self-care and forgiveness, as all are critical to being happy, remaining effective and making a positive difference.  Promote self-awareness, persistence, flexibility, kindness and an attitude of gratitude.  Underline the importance of taking periodic breaks for physical, emotional and spiritual rejuvenation

Hopefully the above steps can help turn the negativity of ecoanxiety into the positivity of climate action and solutions our world so dearly needs.

In the news:

Bravo PEI: an aggressive net-zero plan puts Canada’s smallest province at the ‘Centre of Energy Transition Universe’!

Project Arrow, the first all-Canadian EV (with a 3D-printed chassis even), makes its debut at the Canadian International Auto Show. The fashion world is rife with misleading claims like ‘vegan’ or ‘sustainable’; here’s how to spot them.


“If we simply swap internal combustion vehicles for EVs we’ll have done more to save the car industry than the planet.”

        – Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney, Australia in this thoughtful piece about the future of sustainable transportation

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