Building Emotional Resilience Against Climate Change
Updated: 3 days ago
Who is affected by climate anxiety? Anyone aware of climate change and its harmful effects may experience some level of anxiety.
We hosted a free virtual round-table discussion about climate anxiety between NYC high schoolers and a climate-aligned psychologist, which you can watch here. For more info about climate distress, read on.
Have you ever stayed up too late reading negative news stories about climate change? Do you feel anger towards people or politicians who aren’t doing enough to stop the devastation the planet faces? Do you worry about how it may affect you or your child’s life? These are all effects of climate anxiety or distress. If you are feeling this way, you are not alone.
Climate anxiety is a "form of psychological distress related to the climate crisis," also defined by the American Psychological Association as a “chronic fear of environmental doom.”
Who is affected by climate anxiety? Anyone aware of climate change and its harmful effects may experience some level of anxiety. Certain groups may face a higher risk of physical and mental health issues due to environmental causes. These groups include those who live in areas prone to extreme weather events, Indigenous people, displaced communities, or adolescents. Recent research has confirmed the phenomenon that many of us know to be true.
A 2021 study published in The Lancet found high rates of negativity and hopelessness regarding climate change among youth. The 10-country survey of 10,000 youth aged 16-25 asked how they felt about climate change and their government’s response to it. Nearly 60% said they felt ‘very worried’ or ‘extremely worried’ about climate change, and 45% of participants said that their feelings about climate change impacted their daily lives.
The breadth of this study demonstrates that while climate worries can feel isolating, there are many people worldwide that are facing similar struggles.
New York City’s climate forecast includes longer, hotter, and more frequent heat waves, sea level rise, and more extreme flooding. These impending problems have led to documented cases of climate anxiety in NYC. There are actions you can take to protect your health considering the issue of climate change. A new area of therapy has even emerged to tackle the issue.
Climate-aware therapists are professionally-trained psychotherapists who recognize that the climate crisis is both a global threat to all life on Earth and a deeply personal threat to the mental and physical well-being—the sense of safety, meaning, and purpose—of each individual, family, and community on the planet.
Therapy is only one solution of many for combatting climate anxiety. You have a chance to hear directly from a climate-aligned therapist about concrete ways to cope with climate anxiety and a greater understanding of the mental health struggle associated with a warming planet. On April 28, 2022 at 4:30 PM, GrowNYC will be moderating a conversation between NYC high school students and Dr. Wendy Greenspun, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who serves on the board of directors of the Climate Psychology Alliance–North America.
We hosted a free virtual round-table discussion about climate anxiety between NYC high schoolers and a climate-aligned psychologist, which you can watch here.