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Identifying and Coping with “Eco-grief”

Do you find yourself worrying about climate change? Are you constantly thinking about the effects of climate change on the world? Do the increasingly high number of forest fires and extreme weather events worry you? Do you experience genuine grief at the idea that we might be losing a big part of our planet’s ecosystems for good?

If you do, that’s entirely normal and understandable. We live in difficult times, and climate change is a pressing issue. If these feelings are a common occurrence in your life, you may be dealing with eco-grief.

What is Eco-Grief?

Simply put, eco-grief is our response to the loss of our environment. We are losing landscapes and ecosystems to climate change, and that can be very distressing. We might be mourning actual forests, or maybe we’re mourning the losses we’ll suffer in the future. But at the end of the day, loss is loss, and eco-grief is real.

Eco-Grief and Eco-Anxiety

It’s possible for eco-grief and eco-anxiety to be confused with one another.

Do you dread the effects that climate change threatens to have? Is that a future you fear? Do you constantly think about it in a way that makes you nervous or even panicked? That’s eco-anxiety: anxiety about climate change and the future it may leave us with.

Are you sad about the current effects of climate change on earth? Do you grieve the animal species that disappear and the ecosystems that are destroyed? Are you mourning the loss of such important parts of our planet? If so, then what you’re feeling is eco-grief.

Neither is easy to cope with, but grief in general is unique. Eco-grief is no different. But it’s possible to learn how to cope with it.

close up photo of grass with tall trees in the background

Accept Your Grief

A big part of processing grief involves accepting what you’re feeling. It’s important to recognise that your emotions are real and that you’re allowed to feel that way. Try not to judge yourself for whatever emotions you may have. Instead, try to sit with them, to accept them. And, if you feel like it, try to express it in one way or another, like creating art or writing in a journal.

Find a Community

When it comes to eco-grief, you’re not alone. There are a lot of people all over the planet who also experience eco-grief. Don’t be afraid to find these people, reach out to them and find a community.

Maybe you can find a support group close to you, or an online group you can talk to. You can talk about your grief with them, and in turn, you can listen to them talk about their own.

Take Action

Eco-grief is one of the strongest motivators to take action. While it isn’t one single individual’s responsibility to solve climate change, we can all do something to help.

The most common ways of helping are donating to organizations against climate change and signing relevant petitions, but if you prefer something a little more hands-on, then don’t hesitate to search for a climate group in your area. You can check with them what are the things you can do to help.

Things aren’t hopeless. It’s possible to take action still, so if you find yourself with the motivation to do something, it doesn’t hurt to try.

Seek Professional Help

Grief, no matter what kind, is difficult to deal with. Eco-grief is not an exception. If you find yourself struggling with grief still, then don’t hesitate to seek professional help. There’s nothing wrong with reaching out for help when you need it, and that’s what we’re here for. Schedule an appointment if you need to for grief counseling. You don’t have to deal with this alone.

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