You’ll likely be familiar with the concept of “eco-anxiety”. It’s a feeling that not enough is being done to reverse the impacts of climate change. If you’re starting to feel increasingly deflated, you may have entered the “eco-fatigue” stage of the eco-struggle. Many of us have.
It’s an understandable human response to the climate crisis. And with the situation signally a ‘code red for humanity’, it’s unsurprisingly common. The echoing words of politicians continuing to deny the realities of climate change, and refusing to take enough action towards net zero, can become deafening.
Thankfully, experts are weighing in on the feeling as many of us struggle with the sense that our individual actions aren’t enough to positively impact climate change. You might see your sustainable steps slip a little – maybe you’ve stopped recycling every single plastic bottle or forget your reusable shopping bags more often than you remember them.
Some Psychologists have linked eco-fatigue to a phenomenon known as learned helplessness. It’s the human response to feeling like we have no control over events and situations.
In this blog, we’re going to share the good news. Firstly, there are things we can do to shake off the difficult feeling, and we can tackle “eco-fatigue” head-on.
Create eco-habits and hacks
Creating a habit of taking the eco-option can make it easier to do good for yourself and the planet. It involves some set-up – say, investing in enough eco-bags for your weekly shop – but it ultimately takes the non-eco options off the table and reduces the chance of feeling overwhelmed by choices. Check out One Small Step App for lots of hacks and tricks to minimising your carbon footprint. If you’re a Verve Super member you’ve already got one habit locked in – as you continue to invest your super in a super fund with no exposure to fossil fuels, instead making investments into renewable energy. Congrats!
Find your people
Surrounding yourself with like-minded folk can be an amazing motivator. Attending protests (in a COVID-safe environment) can remind you of our collective power. The sound of voices chanting and footsteps matching are reminders that you’re not alone in your mission. Not in a position to protest? Chatting to other people who care about the environment is a great way to lift your spirits when things get overwhelming.
Remember this is about systemic change
If you have a day off your eco-habit – that’s okay. The fight against climate change is the responsibility of nations, industries, and the global economy. It’s true that without the action of people in the change-making seats, we can’t combat climate change. So you’ve skipped some recycling. Using your dollars and vote to make a change it’s what’s crucial.
Look to history for hope
If Rosa Parks (and several others like her) didn’t take the individual action of refusing to give up her seat, the Supreme Court may not have ruled against segregation on buses. This individual act inspired nationwide protest and ultimately, legal change. While we all know of Rosa Parks, there were many others who refused to give up their seats before her. You may not feel like your individual action is making a difference, yet the cumulative impact of hundreds of thousands of individual actions will, undoubtedly, have a significant impact. History shows us that individual choices can and do matter.
Return to nature
The thing you’re trying so hard to protect? Remember to get out and enjoy it! Put down your devices and surround yourself in the wild, natural world. She’s a wonderful motivator! This isn’t just a “nice-to-do”, either. Nature’s role in climate change is undeniable and research shows that spending time protecting it is one of the best strategies to combat climate change. Simultaneously, spending more time outdoors does wonders for our personal wellbeing. Studies show that being in nature, or even seeing scenes of nature, can reduce anger, fear and stress. And with improved wellbeing, we are better positioned to rally together and fight for climate action. Protesting in any form can take a toll on our mental health, so it’s vital that we take care of ourselves in order to take care of others, and the planet.
If you or someone you know is struggling, we recommend speaking to a professional for support.
A friendly reminder that all the financial information contained in this blog is general and doesn’t take into account your personal financial objectives, situation or needs. It’s important to do your own research and consider getting in touch with a professional adviser to access specific advice tailored to your unique situation. When considering if Verve Super is appropriate for you, please read the PDS and TMD available on our website.