Eco Anxiety is Real!

By: Aarushi Tanwar

Converting My Eco Anxiety into an Echo

Eco anxiety is not a medical issue but yes it exhibits symptoms of the general anxiety disorder. Eco anxiety is a state where you feel being anxious, helpless, worried, doomed, agitated, stressed, bothered, troubled and cumbersome. When you witness the alarming ecological disasters growing and growing day by day.

Image source: BBC THREE

Some people cite that eco-anxiety is mal-adaptive and is a pathological expression of anxiety associated with anti-environmental attitudes & actions. For example, if I see any anti-environmental practice, I immediately start worrying about how this behaviour will help our environment to sustain and be healthy, which leads my mind to a great dissonance. For a long time I’ve been struggling to find solutions to the poor waste management, and lack of proper drainage system in our country and also to the huge amount of plastic waste we generate collectively.

Markets: An ecological battleground

My biggest battle ground to experience any ecological disaster is a market place because there I can sense the disaster building up. Market, a place where we can buy fruits, vegetables, grocery and packaged food etc etc. And I feel not only humans are choking at this point of time but I see our edible items being wrapped in single use plastics. I wonder since when, does our fruits or vegetables which have peel on it need those shiny plastic wraps.

Image source: Bloomberg

I have encountered many people in the vegetable market asking for poly bags to carry the bought vegetables which is something a new normal to which I have adapted but not rested yet. But when I see people asking for multiple plastic bags to carry different kinds of vegetables in different bags I feel so devastated that my brain starts forming a picture when these people will only have plastic to eat, plastic to feed their children, and all surrounded by huge piles of plastic. And by the time in my imagination plastic would have conquered the eco system and our food chain deeply. 

The biggest irony is:

  • people are facing water shortages in metropolitan cities,
  • floods in the coastal & low-lying areas,
  • they very well know that vegetables & fruits that they are buying are not that good in taste yet are highly priced, 
  • they know flushing tampons, pads, condoms, or anything can clog drainage system 
  • they know that waste pickers manually segregate their waste in the landfills without any protection gear
  • they experience heat strokes and high temperatures which obviously make them turn on their ACs
  • even when they feed the stray cows or dogs they put the rotten inedible in the plastic bag as it is and at times animals eat those plastic bags as well.
  • they know disposable cutlery produce huge amount of waste but “they are convenient!” (sarcastic)
  • people know non-renewable energy is quite expensive and harms the atmosphere but ACs, big chandeliers and non LEDs are status symbols.
  • Just next to their home, they got a big vacant land area and they dump waste because when the “waste is out of sight is out of mind”
  • The big-big irony is people like products made from natural resources, they want wooden flooring, wooden furniture, wooden cutlery, indoor decor and what not but am sorry to say they are so mentally ill that they can not keep a habit of reducing, reusing & recycling the products they love.
  • they know plastic and poor waste management is a massive disaster to the nature but they say “why me?”, “what will happen if only I do?” “What change a person can make?” and the most cliched dialogue, when asked about any anti-environmental attitude is, “Chalta Hai!”
Image source: David Silverman/Getty Images

An echo of change

Well, there are many things that people do. And trust me Eco anxiety is real. There is a need to translate our Eco anxiety into Echo so that we don’t feel depressed anymore rather express, reverberate, reiterate, repeat, resound, panic and answer to our anxiety in a positive way. 

As the 16 year old climate activist, Greta Thunberg said in the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, ” Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” 

Image source: Getty Images

I want you all to notice and overcome your in activities “Chalta hai” by actually putting some pro-environment baby steps, ensuring your actions and mindset to be nature friendly.

There are times when we feel that, this particular thing isn’t in our control and feel so small in order to make that change, that it sometimes fall us all in the negative zone and ultimately we rest by actually doing nothing. 

Solutions for Eco Anxiety

So, for those times, keep in mind your actions, behavior, mindset, consumption pattern and awareness level do make a positive change. Even if you are not in a state to make a change, then be the change, spread the good environmental knowledge because we must feed our subconscious mind with good sustainable thoughts. 

And I believe that it floats all over our mind and eventually, creates an urge for the thing you wanted to do but didn’t even attempt at once.

So, my three solutions to Eco- anxiety are:

  1. Do panic & act before the natural disaster to happen.
  2. Everyday take few baby steps to save the environment.
  3. Feed your subconscious mind that “You really can make a big change!”

(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

Aarushi Tanwar

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