Overcoming the fear around climate change

Reading your local waste guide can lead to the reduction of compostable and recyclable materials being sent to landfill.

Climate change, global warming, sea-level rise, extreme weather events: these are some daunting topics of conversation that can often feel overwhelming. When something as big as a global catastrophe come to mind, a common reaction might be to feel utterly helpless. It can also raise the question: “what could I possibly do as one person?” If you have ever felt this way, you are certainly not alone; this phenomenon is called ecoanxiety. The next time you ask yourself that question however, it may be helpful to stop considering it a rhetorical question and start reflecting on what it is you actually can do.

Everyone has their own strengths and attributes that can influence change. This can happen on an individual, household, workplace, or community level. People too often think their actions don’t have any impact, but our world’s ecosystems do not operate in vacuums—all actions count.

Fear often goes hand-in-hand with climate change and can originate from the presence of risks due to hazards such as storms or heavy rainfall. Recent storm events in the last few years may have left people feeling anxious about what is to come. The best action is to respond to this fear with adaptation. There are many solutions and strategies that you can consider, such as thinking proactively about how to prevent flood damage or looking into what changes you can make on your property to ensure proper drainage. Our suggestion is to start small. Maybe pick one thing this month and see how it goes, then next month re-evaluate and consider adding something else into your routine.

The United Nations developed an amusing yet helpful “Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World” that provides tangible actions for people to help in addressing these big global issues. They have even broken the actions down into different levels of effort or commitment. To see the complete guide, go to: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/.

The researchers involved with the MEOPAR project are working to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change and how communities can effectively adapt, and increase resilience, to these changes. Follow along with our blog every week (written by researchers Liette Vasseur, Meredith DeCock, Bradley May, Pulkit Garg and Sam Gauthier) to learn more about the project and how you can get involved. You can also visit our website at brocku.ca/unesco-chair or email us at meopar-lincoln@brocku.ca.

Categories: MEOPAR-Lincoln Blog, Updates of the Chair