Four ways to think about managing climate anxiety.

Four ways to think about managing climate anxiety.

That’s a very strange question, isn’t it? But it is said that climate anxiety is spreading in society. Myself, acquaintances, friends and family can feel stressed and guilty because they don’t have the energy, the money or the opportunity to do the right thing. That they do something that they happen to know is bad for the environment. They do things out of habit. But is that really the case? Anxiety is not a good feeling. I want to give you some tips on how to think around your guilty conscience. 

Some tips

 I want to give you some tips on how to think about dealing with this diffuse or distinct feeling of shame or anxiety. Everyone is different and “affected” differently by this. Or at least that’s how I’ve started to think lately after getting more into the subject of climate change, sustainability and the UN’s Global Goals. 


We live in a society where information and impressions abound. There are also demands and expectations from all sorts of quarters. The picture of what happens and how things are is fragmented and multifaceted. You need to take a deep breath and think. You don’t have to react with your spinal cord or gut instinct and just rush on. It is not easy but it is necessary. Here are 4 perspectives on how you can think.

1. Small or large?

But in order to judge whether something is big or small, important or less important, dangerous or not so dangerous, you need perspective on things – you need to be able to compare the hazard with other hazards. It may sound strange, but it doesn’t have to be. There is a high risk that you will get a sting in your foot if you walk barefoot in the woods. It’s not so bad. But there is also a high risk of cutting yourself if you walk barefoot on glass. None of this is pleasant  but it’s not deadly either. Most people would say that walking on glass is more dangerous than getting a prick in the foot. It’s really the same with environmental degradation. But it is much more serious than a sting in the foot. What affects the climate and destroys our environment is differently dangerous in the sense of having different significance. None of this is good in the long run. In the long term, measured in time, we need to change the way we use the earth’s resources. And that brings me to another factor that is important to consider.

2. How urgent is it?

Should we do it now or right away? a saying I once used. It’s a bit like that at work and maybe in everyday life too. There is a lot to be done and ideally it should already be done. You may want to do both, but you do the third because it was closer and easier to deal with. Most of the time, we try to make judgements about what needs to be done when in order to have a good flow in everyday life. After all, time or urgency is also a basis for managing tasks. Is it important? Are you in a hurry? I do what is both urgent and important first. Then I do what’s important. The rest, what is not important and not in a hurry, does not need to be done.

So when it comes to the climate, everyone says it’s urgent and super important, it’s life and death, that’s what they say. As I understand it, greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere are the most acute. We can see that the climate has started to change. So I’ve tried to reduce my contribution to atmospheric emissions as much as possible.  In our part of the world, we need to reduce our contribution to CO2 emissions. I had the opportunity to sell my car. When I need transport, I cycle, take public transport or sometimes rent a car. Similarly, consumption is a contributor to greenhouse gases. Think about whether you really need everything you buy?

3. Nobody can do everything!

It’s easy to think that it’s so much it’s so big. What little I do doesn’t matter. But no one has claimed that I will solve all the problems, and probably neither will you, unless your name is Joe Biden or Xi Jinping. But even they can’t solve all the world’s problems. And somewhere here lies the answer. Solving the problems is not one person’s responsibility. Everyone can do something but no one can do everything. That’s the answer. So you and I will try to find out what we can do and that’s why I write on this blog. I can do something and I want to do it. I hope you will think the same and want to do something. But what and how to start is up to you. You may find it helpful to take one of the tests on this page and choose where to start based on the test. 

4. Everyone can do something!

Doing something is a good way to relieve anxiety and shame. I’m doing something about it and I know I can only do my part. I can search information online there are many tips. I am building a collection of good sites that have helped me. In practice, it is about gathering knowledge. Knowledge is also a good thing – what is unclear and diffuse allows thoughts to run without boundaries, and then it is easy to magnify things and not see them as they really are. Also, if you know the facts, it’s easier to know how you can help change.

Click here to go to my collection of useful links and fact pages (they open in a new window).

You can read on this blog and on several other pages to decide what you want to do.
One way is to do some testing on what your carbon footprint looks like and decide to work on it.

In summary – here’s how you can think

Size and scope – some problems are bigger than others try to see what you can do to change habits in the areas that matter most, probably affecting greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s the rush – big problems that we need to do something about quickly are important. But take a test and you’ll see where to start. And you may already be well on your way. And if you change something now and then one more thing next week, you’ll have made 52 bets by the end of a year and we’ll be on our way.

You can’t do everything – start by changing something and keep at it so that you get into a new habit, then you’ve taken a step on a journey that won’t end for years to come.

Do something!  – if you feel anxiety, shame or stress, it might help you to do something! Once you’ve started doing something, you’re contributing to a more sustainable world. And that’s where the journey is going. One step at a time. The more people who take a step, the better.

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