Climate People's Guide To Reversing Eco-Anxiety
It's time to become a climate optimist.
Yup, you heard that right. We know that isn't something that you've likely heard before. The climate space is often so rightfully ridden with negative rhetoric. However, at Climate People we truly believe that hopelessness leads to inaction. Rather than scaring potential environmentalists away with eco-anxiety, we aim to inspire people into action by truly emphasizing the opportunity for change.
Let's break it down.
Climate change is BAD, and quite frankly, we are to blame. We all know this. The IPCC says humans have caused climate change and urgent action is needed to avoid the catastrophic effects of global warming. We must limit our global temperature rise to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius or the detrimental effects could be irreversible by 2030. This doomsday environmental rhetoric is factually correct. If we continue living the way that we do, life won't be too fun in the coming decades.
A study of 10,000 children in 10 countries about rising climate-related mental health risks in young people discovered that 4 out of 10 interviewees said that climate threats made them hesitant to have children, over half said they feared their own family's security (their climate anxiety was affecting their ability to eat, sleep, study, and pray), and over half admitted that they believe humanity is doomed.
Another key element to this negative discourse and anxiety is rooted in the fact that there is a sort of inability to take action. So much of this environmental decision-making comes from a governmental standpoint and individuals feel as though they have limited control over resolving the issues.
Over two-thirds of the interviewed children felt as though the government was lying to them about the effectiveness of the actions they were taking to combat climate change.
All of that said.
We know that a lot of this research can be worry-intensifying. However, there's a positive side to all of it. We have the hard facts behind how this inaction is causing our children to feel. We can take this quantitative data to the people in charge and use it as a vehicle for change.
Many researchers argue that climate anxiety “may be the crucible through which humanity must pass to harness the energy and conviction that are needed for the lifesaving changes now required.”
It isn't too late to take action — for both individuals and governments. For emphasis, we will say it again — it isn't too late. As cliche as it may be, the actions we take today can and will impact tomorrow. The more we do now, the better equipped we will be to either deal with or mitigate the implications of climate change down the line.
@thegarbagequeen Brb saving this for when I’m feeling down ???? #climate #climatechange #climatecrisis #climatetok #climateaction #ecotok ? Violin - Grooving Gecko
This is where being a climate optimist comes into play. There are countless studies out there that reinforce the point that inaction breeds doubt and fear — the very opposite intention of these environmental doomsayers.
A study titled "Uncertainty and Anticipation in Anxiety" found that uncertainty about a possible threat disrupts our ability to avoid it or mitigate its negative impact and therefore leads to anxiety. The study identified five processes for adaptive anticipatory responses to the threat: hypervigilance, deficient safety learning, avoidance, heightened reactivity, and disrupted value calculation.
Putting 2 & 2 together.
So there we have it — we know that uncertainty and anticipation cause an increased level of anxiety which promotes inaction. This individual inaction paired with governmental passivity causes an increased level of climate change fear.
So, the obvious solution to these two inherent issues is action. Action not only increases that serotonin and prevents anxiety, but it also helps to reverse the negative implications that coincide with climate change.
Where to start?
There are countless ways to escape this anxiety-ridden feedback loop, anything from attending climate protests to eating less beef. Check out this comprehensive guide from Goodside that outlines how to take action through measuring, reducing, and offsetting your emissions.
However, we're a ClimateTech recruiting firm, so we will stick to what we know best. One of the easiest ways to make a difference is by starting with things that you know well. Something like your job, the very thing that you're already funneling 40+ hours a week into.
We challenge you to take a critical look at your career path and see it as a track for climate opportunity. We'll explain more in a minute, keep reading.
Heard of ClimateTech?
Due to its recent emergence and rapidly changing landscape, there are countless definitions of ClimateTech. Here at Climate People, we break the term up into three unique specifications — greenhouse gas mitigation, carbon adaptation, and carbon removal.
All of the technology that actively works to alleviate carbon in the atmosphere falls into the mitigation sector. Whereas technology that works to help reduce the inevitable harms of climate change falls into the adaptability category. Lastly, technology that actively removes carbon from the atmosphere falls into the carbon removal bracket.
Essentially, any technological service — whether that be software as a service, a web-based tool, a physical satellite, etc. — that works to eliminate/remove or reduce the harms of these emissions, can be considered a ClimateTech product. These innovative technologies can be industry-specific or more general.
The incredible thing about ClimateTech is that it applies to every single industry. The very premise of this field is to rewrite the traditional frameworks and reinvent the wheelhouse with more sustainable and equitable solutions.
Back to the jobs.
When talking about jobs in climate it's so much broader than a solar panel or a wind turbine. We encourage you to think of every job as a climate role. With Biden's "aggressive national commitment to electrification" there will be 15 million good-paying American jobs by the end of 2025. So a climate job can be anything from, yes, a wind turbine technician, to a construction engineer, and everything in between.
Every type of job has a seat at the table in ClimateTech. Let's take a deeper look at that construction engineering example.
On average, construction emissions account for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. Engineers — and their firms — can act as the link between the idea and the implementation of green building practices. These engineers are seeing first-hand the problem and the possibility. They are uniquely positioned to educate policymakers with their own practical experience on what is necessary to design real-world infrastructure that delivers more efficient performance with fewer emissions and greater resiliency. These engineers, directly and indirectly, can impact the embodied carbon of these buildings.
Even bigger than this, there's an opportunity for these same buildings to have sustainable heating systems, smart lighting systems, green roofs, inventive glass, renewable-energy power sources, etc. The list could go on and on.
If we wanted to, we could take this even one step further. If we look at that inventive glass example mentioned above. That glass has to be manufactured, marketed, sold, distributed, and installed. There's substantial room for ClimateTech opportunities at every single one of those steps. This arena isn't just for entrepreneurs and investors — we need salespeople, marketers, delivery drivers, installation technicians, and much more.
That's a wrap.
With this much opportunity for change, we encourage you to take a critical look at your career and take note of the possibilities. Whether you're looking to embark on an entirely new path or just rework some of the traditional ways your company is currently operating — those small steps matter.
Flip your perspective, transform your stress into steps, and reek the benefits of doing your part in this battle against climate change.
Feeling inspired? Climate People specializes in placing mission-aligned individuals in roles where they can make that true impact. Our inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) is always open if you need some assistance on your journey.