News about climate change can be distressing. Here’s how to cope with ‘ecoanxiety’

News about climate change can be distressing. Here’s how to cope with ‘ecoanxiety’, by Ange McCormack.

After hearing about a damning report into climate change last week — which basically gives the world 12 years to halve our emissions or else face uncontrollable climate change — 27-year-old Caitlin Grace sent Hack an email.

In the subject line Caitlin wrote, “Ecoanxiety”.

“I’ve gone full existential crisis,” Caitlin wrote while reeling from the IPCC findings.

“I’ve been having several panic attacks a day, can’t concentrate and just have a constant overwhelming feeling of impending doom.”

Caitlin Grace told Hack that going about her daily life in the last week has been pretty surreal.

“When I’ve been out and about I’ve been looking around at people and thinking, why are we just going about our normal lives? …

Dr Susie Burke, a senior psychologist from the Australian Psychology Society, says there’s plenty of research which has looked into climate change being a trigger for mental health issues like anxiety and depression. … “Quite a lot of people are feeling fairly intense emotions in relation to climate change or their fear of future impacts,” Dr Burke told Hack. …

How to cope:

Dr Burke says one of the first things to do if you’re feeling anxious about climate change is share what you’re going through with your friends and family.

“One of the more dangerous things you can do is push the feelings away and ignore the problem and then not do anything about it.” …

Group activities, engaging in politics, and changing your daily habits to benefit the environment all help, Dr Burke says. …

What to do:

Dr Burke also says it’s perfectly reasonable for someone like Caitlin Grace to seek professional help for what they’re feeling. …

“I haven’t been overrun with calls but I suspect that’s something we increasingly will be seeing. This is the biggest issue of our time.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

How about doing some due diligence? For instance, according to the biggest proxy study ever done (2012) the temperature over the last 2,000 years has gone something like this :

The recent rise looks scary, though not too far out of the ordinary. Carbon dioxide has risen lately:

But notice: something other than carbon dioxide levels was causing the temperature to fluctuate prior to 1900. Whether the warm period around 1000 AD was slightly warmer or cooler than today doesn’t really matter — the point is that the temperature changed, and it wasn’t carbon dioxide doing it.

Whatever it was that changed temperatures prior to 1900, it is not in the climate models. Hmmm.

For a full on dose of well-informed climate skepticism, visit Joanne Nova’s website, one of the world’s biggest and longest running. (We are married, btw.)

hat-tip Barry