Eco-anxiety: why do we feel it and what can we do about it? Watch

University of Bath Guest Lecturer
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Conversations about climate change and eco-anxiety can bring us face to face with mixed and complicated feelings of anger, hope, frustration, grief, guilt and sadness.

But the more we look at it and ask questions such as; does it affect children & young people differently to adults, why do we feel it, how does it feel, what can we do about it, is it all a problem, or could it maybe hold some answers to the climate emergency. Maybe by understanding it better we could start to see it differently. Then possibly, it is less of a problem, but maybe gives us some solutions to the climate and bio-diversity crisis?

For some more context on this discussion, you can listen to a podcast with Caroline about eco-anxiety here >>


Caroline Hickman teaches at the University of Bath & is a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) Executive Committee; academic & psychotherapist. Currently researching children & young people’s relationship with nature and feelings about the climate and biodiversity crisis using a psychosocial free association methodology to uncover and explore different stories, narratives and images around our defences against the 'difficult truth' of the climate and bio-diversity crisis and hidden and ‘less conscious’ feelings about climate anxiety. She is passionate about getting ‘under the surface’ metaphorically and literally.

Caroline is thankful for her co-researcher Murphy who needs daily walks in the woods and whenever she has the chance she spends time underwater hanging out with fish, preferably sharks. She managed to get love of sharks into her psychotherapy dissertation, she is also slightly obsessed with seagrass, and it’s CO2 absorbing properties.

Caroline has also published two articles about eco-anxiety and climate change here:

https://theconversation.com/im-up-la...at-rest-124940
https://theconversation.com/what-psy...-crises-116977
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Obolinda
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Interesting... I'll have a read
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Deggs_14
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We can abstain from having children.
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Sweet Corn
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(Original post by University of Bath Guest Lecturer)
Conversations about climate change and eco-anxiety can bring us face to face with mixed and complicated feelings of anger, hope, frustration, grief, guilt and sadness.

But the more we look at it and ask questions such as; does it affect children & young people differently to adults, why do we feel it, how does it feel, what can we do about it, is it all a problem, or could it maybe hold some answers to the climate emergency. Maybe by understanding it better we could start to see it differently. Then possibly, it is less of a problem, but maybe gives us some solutions to the climate and bio-diversity crisis?

For some more context on this discussion, you can listen to a podcast with Caroline about eco-anxiety here >>


Caroline Hickman teaches at the University of Bath & is a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) Executive Committee; academic & psychotherapist. Currently researching children & young people’s relationship with nature and feelings about the climate and biodiversity crisis using a psychosocial free association methodology to uncover and explore different stories, narratives and images around our defences against the 'difficult truth' of the climate and bio-diversity crisis and hidden and ‘less conscious’ feelings about climate anxiety. She is passionate about getting ‘under the surface’ metaphorically and literally.

Caroline is thankful for her co-researcher Murphy who needs daily walks in the woods and whenever she has the chance she spends time underwater hanging out with fish, preferably sharks. She managed to get love of sharks into her psychotherapy dissertation, she is also slightly obsessed with seagrass, and it’s CO2 absorbing properties.

Caroline has also published two articles about eco-anxiety and climate change here:

https://theconversation.com/im-up-la...at-rest-124940
https://theconversation.com/what-psy...-crises-116977
Thank you for those two articles
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(Original post by Deggs_14)
We can abstain from having children.
Agree, just imagine how much waste one person generates in their lifetime...
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(Original post by University of Bath Guest Lecturer)
Conversations about climate change and eco-anxiety can bring us face to face with mixed and complicated feelings of anger, hope, frustration, grief, guilt and sadness.

But the more we look at it and ask questions such as; does it affect children & young people differently to adults, why do we feel it, how does it feel, what can we do about it, is it all a problem, or could it maybe hold some answers to the climate emergency. Maybe by understanding it better we could start to see it differently. Then possibly, it is less of a problem, but maybe gives us some solutions to the climate and bio-diversity crisis?

For some more context on this discussion, you can listen to a podcast with Caroline about eco-anxiety here >>


Caroline Hickman teaches at the University of Bath & is a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) Executive Committee; academic & psychotherapist. Currently researching children & young people’s relationship with nature and feelings about the climate and biodiversity crisis using a psychosocial free association methodology to uncover and explore different stories, narratives and images around our defences against the 'difficult truth' of the climate and bio-diversity crisis and hidden and ‘less conscious’ feelings about climate anxiety. She is passionate about getting ‘under the surface’ metaphorically and literally.

Caroline is thankful for her co-researcher Murphy who needs daily walks in the woods and whenever she has the chance she spends time underwater hanging out with fish, preferably sharks. She managed to get love of sharks into her psychotherapy dissertation, she is also slightly obsessed with seagrass, and it’s CO2 absorbing properties.

Caroline has also published two articles about eco-anxiety and climate change here:

https://theconversation.com/im-up-la...at-rest-124940
https://theconversation.com/what-psy...-crises-116977
When you say 'what can we do about it' most people mean about GHGs, this focuses on what can we do about are feelings about it, researchers will write whatever they think will get citations...

Climate change is serious & do doubt will be a defining issue over the next half century but a lot (LOT) more is being done then people realise, and a lot of it is system sensitivity & reaction time for example changes made to legislation in 2015 around 130 g/co2 per km have a huge lag before you see any real effect as even new vehicle fleets are to this standards however the majority of road cars arent yet (car life cycles are like 5-15 years), in 2021 we will see new vehicles @ 95 g/CO2 / km and again there will be a lag.

'We' in the UK have mostly been on top of it since 1990 (yes that long) and are doing a lot to reduce GHGs and we will be NET carbon zero for 2050, if you look at the IPCC targets thats the earliest possible year average surface temperatures will level off.

Climate change will be decided abroad both the US & China have intense targets for reducing GHGs, Chinas current target would be amazing if they realistically hit it imo as they plan to have a huge reduction in a very small time from closer to 2030, but both the EUs & US targets are models based on slowly reeling in net emissions and are realistic, honestly I wouldnt worry about it, more is being done then people realise and even high carbon systems are being massively changed with huge efficiency and things such CCS make even coal & NG plants much greener then they have ever been, the reality is were still in the descaling of GHG net emissions and will be till 2050, post-2050 we will potentially see more infra-red radiation start to escape and temperatures will likely plateau (and maybe even longer term like 2100 decrease). there are other environmental concerns worth fighting for in the UK another one which is also finally coming under control is air quality it peaked in the 2000s and with HEVs we should be able to see further reductions in things such as NOx in big cities.
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Thanks to everyone who has posted comments so far. What I think is most important when talking about something as sensitive as eco-anxiety is for us to remember that it has great meaning for people, and we need to respect these different views. We know that psychologically data does not effectively reduce fears and anxieties. We can feel that there is so much conflicting information out there that it can be difficult to feel sure about what to trust. And that leads to greater anxiety. We have to remember that we are human beings and not machines - so our emotional responses need to be taken seriously - even if they do not always make immediate sense. I'm afraid that just using facts and figures will not 'speak' to people's fears - especially when the facts about climate change are so serious. The evidence from around the world is already grim. Many people are suffering, it is a huge problem of social injustice, and a global concern. So I'm afraid that just relying on UK data will not reassure people, nor will it address the global crisis that we all need to see ourselves as part of.
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(Original post by Deggs_14)
We can abstain from having children.
Thanks for your comment. Yes - some young people are considering that this is a way to reduce our carbon footprint and to reduce the pressure on the planets resources. I would say that these decisions are always very personal, and although climate change and the climate emergency is a social and systemic problem, so also needs a systemic solution, and we need to address inequality within this - we also still need to live life. So I would never say to someone - do or do not have children, what I would say is - whatever you decide for yourself, so this mindfully, consciously and thoughtfully, and if you do want to have children - be aware that you will need to parent them in the world that they will be inheriting.
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(Original post by Sweet Corn)
Thank you for those two articles
You are welcome - I hope they are helpful, if you have any questions or wanted to ask anything - please do so
Caroline
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(Original post by Obolinda)
Interesting... I'll have a read
Great, let me know if you have any questions!
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This is an interesting article - any thoughts??
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices...-a9127961.html
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And I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on this
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/e...-a9225081.html

Caroline
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Agree, just imagine how much waste one person generates in their lifetime...
100 tons apparently.... not that bad in the grand scheme of things.
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mnot
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(Original post by University of Bath Guest Lecturer)
Thanks to everyone who has posted comments so far. What I think is most important when talking about something as sensitive as eco-anxiety is for us to remember that it has great meaning for people, and we need to respect these different views. We know that psychologically data does not effectively reduce fears and anxieties. We can feel that there is so much conflicting information out there that it can be difficult to feel sure about what to trust. And that leads to greater anxiety. We have to remember that we are human beings and not machines - so our emotional responses need to be taken seriously - even if they do not always make immediate sense. I'm afraid that just using facts and figures will not 'speak' to people's fears - especially when the facts about climate change are so serious. The evidence from around the world is already grim. Many people are suffering, it is a huge problem of social injustice, and a global concern. So I'm afraid that just relying on UK data will not reassure people, nor will it address the global crisis that we all need to see ourselves as part of.
My data wasn't UK related, the Carbon dioxide transport pollution numbers are an EU regulation.

My reference to the UK was more about the climate based legislative path set out by parliament in 1990 (although im sure your already familiar with this)

The IPCC numbers also are global estimates (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

the people worrying every night about climate change likely arent in a lab M-F, sorry for my course nature, but as someone who is currently active in research on high efficiency ultra-low carbon solutions I find it really frustrating some of the discussions i read particularly in the press, the UK is investing a lot and the reality is sensible timelines and realistic measurables are in place, can we do more? yes. But do people need to **** themselves with anxiety about climate change? No.

I find the current media rhetoric unhelpful, if you actually listen to organisations like XR they dont even understand the reality (the guy who heads XR didnt even understand the difference between CO2, NOx & PMs! and hes the one organising the protests smh).

newspapers love to take an article from a journal such as Nature or Energies and mis-lead people with its findings. The situation is serious but not dire, and cleaning up GHGs will take decades as i say a measured sensible glide path.

with a low emission glide path the IPCC data shows global surface temperature will level off by 2050, the question is how do we ensure this? the reality is 20 years of system optimisation, global transport & power-grid are much closer then people realise, but it will still take 10-20 years to fully industrialise the next generation technology.
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(Original post by Deggs_14)
We can abstain from having children.
:adore::congrats: agreed needs to be a 2-4 biological/step child policy (people can keep kids they already have and adopt or foster as many as they want as that is not adding to the world population)
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(Original post by University of Bath Guest Lecturer)
Conversations about climate change and eco-anxiety can bring us face to face with mixed and complicated feelings of anger, hope, frustration, grief, guilt and sadness.

But the more we look at it and ask questions such as; does it affect children & young people differently to adults, why do we feel it, how does it feel, what can we do about it, is it all a problem, or could it maybe hold some answers to the climate emergency. Maybe by understanding it better we could start to see it differently. Then possibly, it is less of a problem, but maybe gives us some solutions to the climate and bio-diversity crisis?

For some more context on this discussion, you can listen to a podcast with Caroline about eco-anxiety here >>


Caroline Hickman teaches at the University of Bath & is a member of the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) Executive Committee; academic & psychotherapist. Currently researching children & young people’s relationship with nature and feelings about the climate and biodiversity crisis using a psychosocial free association methodology to uncover and explore different stories, narratives and images around our defences against the 'difficult truth' of the climate and bio-diversity crisis and hidden and ‘less conscious’ feelings about climate anxiety. She is passionate about getting ‘under the surface’ metaphorically and literally.

Caroline is thankful for her co-researcher Murphy who needs daily walks in the woods and whenever she has the chance she spends time underwater hanging out with fish, preferably sharks. She managed to get love of sharks into her psychotherapy dissertation, she is also slightly obsessed with seagrass, and it’s CO2 absorbing properties.

Caroline has also published two articles about eco-anxiety and climate change here:

https://theconversation.com/im-up-la...at-rest-124940
https://theconversation.com/what-psy...-crises-116977
not concerned about climate change (I have 2-3 reasons as to why)
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
not concerned about climate change (I have 2-3 reasons as to why)
Oh really now, that I'd love to hear.
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(Original post by 0101Curious)
Oh really now, that I'd love to hear.
not gonna state the reasons
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Zero CO2 footprint means no
respiration (so are they also going to stop breathing?)
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Plant more trees and migrate new city development away from the coast. Would cost a fortune to relocate a city from scratch but if we start migrating them away now. Make anything under a mile from the sea a 'no development' zone unless it is necessary for its function, eg... a port.
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