Harnessing Eco Therapy to Overcome Eco Anxiety and Restore Our Planet

With escalating temperatures, melting ice caps, extreme weather events, and biodiversity loss, the urgency to address climate change is more evident than ever.

The rising climate crisis has become a significant contributor to the growing prevalence of eco anxiety. The overwhelming scale and potential consequences of this crisis have created a sense of unease and despair among individuals, resulting in heightened eco anxiety.

Eco anxiety, also known as climate anxiety, is a psychological response to the overwhelming concerns about the state of our planet and the impending environmental crises we face.

It stems from a deep concern for the environment and a sense of responsibility towards preserving it for future generations. It can be triggered by events such as extreme weather events, deforestation, species extinction, or the overall degradation of natural resources. The constant exposure to distressing news and images through media also contributes to the heightened sense of eco anxiety.

Amid yet another destructive wildfire season in southern California, the Pakistani American filmmaker Sindha Agha found herself deeply upset by the seemingly apocalyptic present and her anxieties about an even worse climate future. Unable to work, sleep or feel joy in everyday life, she seeks answers in the field of ‘climate psychology’, and learns that she is very much not alone.

Delivered in Agha’s signature earnest-yet-comedic video-essay style, her short film Everything Wrong and Nowhere to Go tracks her search for relief, eventually leading her to the ‘climate therapist’ Leslie Davenport.

Climate fears makes us feel doomed. How eco-therapy help?

Eco therapy plays a crucial role in healing eco anxiety by providing individuals with a therapeutic and supportive environment to address their concerns about the environment. Engaging with nature through eco therapy allows individuals to reconnect with the natural world, fostering a sense of solace, hope, and empowerment.

By fostering a deep connection with nature and promoting eco-literacy, eco therapy empowers individuals to become agents of positive change. It encourages them to take environmentally sustainable actions in their personal lives and participate in collective efforts to address the climate crisis.

Ultimately, eco therapy offers a holistic approach to healing eco anxiety by nurturing both individual well-being and environmental stewardship.

Here is a masterclass with Raj Mariwala which addressed the intersectionality between mental health and climate change, strategies for building mental health resilience in the face of climate change impacts including coping mechanisms, community-based interventions, action plan for mental health problems due to climate variability and much more.

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