Overcoming Eco-Anxiety with Education
Many children feel worried and fearful about the future of our planet. This is sometimes referred to as “eco-anxiety.” Luckily, there are many ways to help kids feel a sense of empowerment rather than helplessness.
“…research shows that teens and children are well aware of climate change issues and are concerned or worried about the impacts.” – American Psychiatric Association
It is important to first acknowledge the child’s feelings. Then, take steps to help them cope with their feelings. One way to help children overcome fear is education. Families, friends and educators can teach children both the projected impact of humans on our environment and actionable steps they can take to help prevent environmental problems.
“Helping kids find things that they can do to improve the situation is a great way to lower their anxiety.” – Elizabeth Haase
Here are some educational steps you can take to help children with eco-anxiety:
- Encourage hope. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with negative news stories and studies. Share positive environmental news and research with children.
- Model action. Donate to eco-friendly charities and get your children involved. Teach them about how such organizations can help. Volunteer with local environmental community organizations. Write to politicians to encourage change. Have your children help to draft a strong letter.
- Demonstrate environmental responsibility. Make small but impactful changes at home such as teaching children about composting, recycling or switching to green household products.
- Garden and plant trees. Getting children outside in the garden is a wonderful educational opportunity. This teaches them the importance of caring for their environment, where food comes from, and how plants and animals thrive. Moreover, spending time outdoors among plants has been proven to help reduce anxiety.
For more information and ideas to help kids cope with eco-anxiety, check out the resources below.
- 7 Ways to Help Kids Cope with Anxiety About Climate Change
- Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey
- Climate change
- Eco Words: Vocabulary about the Environment
- Episode 65: Teaching about Climate Change with Protect Our Future (podcast)
- Helping kids deal with climate anxiety
- How can we help kids cope with ‘eco-anxiety’?
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