Understanding and Coping with Climate Anxiety: Navigating Eco-Anxiety in Today's World


people-marching-global-warming-protest.jpgClimate anxiety, a growing concern among many, and particularly younger women, reflects overwhelming fear and stress over the climate crisis.

In an era marked by unprecedented environmental challenges, many, particularly among the younger generations, experience the phenomenon of climate anxiety, or eco-anxiety. 

In this article, we'll explore the origins of climate anxiety, its manifestations, and practical strategies for coping with it in our ever-changing world. We'll also see why in particular women from indigenous communities tend to be more affected by the climate crisis, and how embracing community action and cyclical living pave the way for a more sustainable future.

What is Climate Anxiety?

Climate anxiety captures the psychological distress people feel as they grapple with the pressing climate crisis.

This term has gained momentum as our understanding of environmental issues deepens and the effects of human-driven climate change are increasingly felt.

Rooted in concerns about the daunting challenges posed by the changing climate, this anxiety reflects a genuine worry for the planet and the well-being of future generations.

It seems that women are more affected by it than men, in part because they generally tend to be more in touch with and talk about their emotions. Women are also more likely to worry about the climate crisis because they are at greater risk than men of experiencing real-life impact.

Symptoms of Climate Anxiety

Climate anxiety can take various forms, often leaving individuals feeling overwhelmed by a mix of helplessness, despair, grief and existential worry about the planet's future.

Many find themselves grappling with heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression as they confront the enormity of the climate crisis and a lack of meaningful political action to address it. The constant stream of distressing news about environmental damage and extreme weather events can intensify these feelings, leading to a sense of emotional paralysis.

Moreover, the gap between individual actions and broader systemic change can be frustrating. Individual efforts to reduce carbon footprint or advocate for environmental causes may appear as too small to truly make a difference in the face of this complex global challenge.

For specific groups, such as indigenous communities directly affected by climate change, climate anxiety is often amplified by trauma related to the loss of land, cultural heritage, and traditional ways of life. As the impacts of the climate crisis intensify, these communities face heightened levels of displacement, resource scarcity, and environmental degradation.

Why are women more impacted by the climate crisis?

The climate crisis disproportionately impacts women, especially those from marginalised communities.

Women are often more affected than men by for example food insecurity, displacement and loss of livelihoods as they struggle to find ways to care for their families facing social, economic, and cultural inequality.

They are also more at risk of domestic violence, which is more common after extreme weather events, and of sexual violence and trafficking after being displaced.

Pregnant women in particular are very affected by the climate crisis because it's harder for them to escape extreme conditions, and high temperatures and air pollution can impact the pregnancy.

Overall, women are more likely than men to die in climate change-related disasters, which in turn creates more anxiety in women than in men.

Coping Strategies for Climate Anxiety

While climate anxiety can feel overwhelming, there are practical strategies we can adopt to manage these feelings and take positive action.

Self-care practices, such as yoga, meditation, and speaking and listening therapies, can help alleviate stress and foster inner peace amidst uncertainty.

Spending time in nature can also nurture a sense of connection and belonging, rooting ourselves in our intrinsic relationship with the Earth.

However, it's important to acknowledge that coping with climate anxiety doesn't mean denying or minimising the reality of the environmental crisis. Instead, these self-care practices can empower us to feel less overwhelmed and make a difference, for example through reducing our carbon footprint or raising awareness.

The Importance of Community and Living Close to Nature

In addition to individual coping strategies, community support plays a vital role in managing climate anxiety.

Sharing experiences and concerns with like-minded individuals creates a solidarity which makes us feel validated and can reduce our isolation and alienation.

For example, engaging in community projects and local initiatives addressing the climate crisis can foster a sense of belonging and purpose, empowering people to make a tangible difference in their communities and beyond.

By living locally and in tune with nature and the seasons, we can challenge the patriarchal and capitalist paradigm of endless growth and consumption. Embracing values of sustainability, reciprocity, and interconnectedness of all living beings encourages us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature, fostering a more balanced and regenerative way of life.


Climate anxiety is a significant challenge that many people and in particular younger women face in today's world.

Understanding what causes it and embracing ways of coping that prioritise self-care, empowerment and community, can help us overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed, helpless and paralysed.

Through community support, collective action, and a dedication to cyclical living, we can strive towards a more equitable and sustainable future for all.

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