The recent wildfires in North America turned the skies red in many parts of the region, causing many people to suffer from more “climate anxiety.”
A Redditor posted their feelings about the smoke and fires, expressing their distress and asking how other Redditors feel. The post was uploaded to the community r/sustainability, which has 485,000 members.
“It is doubly as frustrating when I see my neighbors continue to water lawns, even though we’re in a drought!” the Redditor expressed. “What have you guys been doing to combat this hopelessness? I just feel like everything I do isn’t enough in the grand scheme of things.”
As human activities continue heating the planet, more people are feeling the consequences in the form of floods, heat waves, droughts, and, more recently, blood-red skies, and “climate anxiety” is becoming more common throughout the globe.
Surveys and internet search data show a noticeable trend: The number of Google searches for “climate anxiety” increased significantly by 565 percent in 2021, Grist reported.
Sarah Lowe, a clinical psychologist from Yale School of Public Health, defines climate anxiety as “distress about climate change and its impacts on the landscape and human existence. That can manifest as intrusive thoughts or feelings of distress about future disasters or the long-term future of human existence and the world.”
She told Yale Sustainability that in the past two decades, researchers have explored various concepts associated with climate anxiety.
These include ecological grief, which involves experiencing sadness due to observed changes in one’s ecosystem, and solastalgia, which refers to a nostalgic feeling for one’s home environment and the past.
As Canada heads into what may already be its worst wildfire season on record, blanketing many parts of North America with smoke that filtered the skies with an apocalyptic red tinge, it’s no surprise “climate anxiety” is increasing.
Redditors had plenty to say.
“Rewilding my yard. Remediating the soil. Cleaning up local areas. Taking care of the wildlife around me. It’s not much, but it helps with the anxiety,” one wrote.
This Redditor had a slightly more optimistic tone: “To help reduce the carbon emissions from [fossil-fueled] power stations, we’re working our spuds off to build offshore wind farms along the East Coast. Get angry, be frustrated, but try not to get too depressed. Come and help us instead.”
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