How to overcome Climate Grief

I love nature. I know I can’t live without it and I watch with disgust people striking it down again and again. It’s no secret, the internet is filled with that stuff. Who still does not believe it is probably in denial phase. Let’s figure out how you can cope with climate grief.

Newspapers, the Internet and social media are full of news about the incoming ecological catastrophe. They show scary images of waste, destroyed landscapes, dead animals or graphs and predictions. I’m trying to find the most reliable sources to find out what’s true. I watch documentaries like Plastic Ocean, The True Cost, Death by Design, Cowspiracy and more. The problem is that the more information I get, the worse I feel.

I’m trying so hard to have positive impact.

I have been vegan for several years, I always have my own bottle and food boxes with me, I recycle, I try to avoid disposable packaging when buying food, I prefer local and seasonal food, I limit the purchase of clothes and when I need something, I go to second hand first, I plant flowers, I voluntarily attend rubbish clean ups and I support some eco-nonprofit project from time to time, I educate myself in the eco area and I try to inspire the people in my surroundings. I’m trying to reduce my total consumption.

Despite all my efforts, I feel that my effort is just one little drop of water in the ocean.

It is not possible to live 100% eco in the current consumption system. Every tram ride, cell phone charge or toilet flush is not eco. This way you can gradually deny everything. I was even determined not to have children. Basically my entire existence is destroying the planet.

Shops full of people, stuffed baskets with food and junk that no one really needs, but it’s cheap, so what. Everyone wants to buy, take, have more, have what others around. Watching this gives me anxiety.

I feel hopeless, frustrated and exhausted.

The worse I feel, the more I want to know why it is happening and do something about it. So I’m getting more information and looking for where the problem is. But this only enhances my feelings. It is a vicious circle or a spiral of self-destruction.

In pursuit of information and people who think like me, I came across Extinction Rebellion and attended their lecture. All the current data and facts about the incoming ecological catastrophe were said there. The lecturer was not optimistic and talked about possible scenarios of human extinction. Several people cried in the lecture and a few of them left.

It is as if someone told you that you will die in a few years and it is all your fault.

The possibility of extinction by destroying the conditions for life on Earth is real. No one really knows how to solve it. The absorption of information about climate change is like facing death. But dealing with death is not easy at all. Moreover the guilt and responsibility are yours.

The key to solving the problem is changing the whole system – turning away from consumerism and establishing sustainability. Adding a lot of information and pressure from the media, it is easy to be completely absorbed by the fight against climate change and fall into climate depression.

5 Stages of Climate Change information absorbtion as an analogy of Coping with Death:
  • denial – at this stage one does not believe it to be true. The facts are so extreme that you just can’t believe it; questioning information;
  • anger – when you still do not believe it, you denote everybody as eco-terrorists and you are aggressive to everyone who try to behave ecologically. Otherwise, you need to yell at every asshole who takes a plastic bag for just one single apple or banana or even a meat that is already in a plastic box in the store. You participate in activist events and want to inform everyone about the situation and motivate them to change. But you actually look like a fool and an extremist. In the end, it does not really lead anywhere and you only turn people against yourself.
  • bargaining – I have not experienced this stage, but basically one is trying to find positives on the whole situation; it resembles the denial phase;
  • depression – feeling frustrated, helpless and hopeless. Nothing makes sense, we all die in a few years. There may even be such a state of mind, when you give up on ecology and start using plastic bags again in the store because it doesn’t matter anyway;
  • reconciliation – the final stage I fortunately came to. All the possibilities that may arise must be accepted; accept death as part of life; Actively try to behave in an environmentally friendly manner, but proportionately to what is in your power, knowing that success is uncertain.
What helps me:
  • realize that the whole problem is bigger than me and that it is not in my power to solve it;
  • knowing that I do my best in the current situation and with the resources and options available;
  • realizing that I am just a human and that I have to take care of my mental health;
  • accepting death as part of life (there would be no balance on Earth without death);

However, this idea is most helpful to me:

If people are so stupid that they will destroy themselves, they deserve extinction. If they rise and save themselves, it’s great! We did it! What is supposed to happen, happens. Accept both options as possibilities and find peace in your soul.

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