Earth Day Is Coming — How’s Your Eco-anxiety Level?

HummingbirdDo you feel guilty about every drop of water that trickles through your shower head and every minute of light that your compact fluorescent light bulbs produce? You may have eco-anxiety and may need an eco-therapist.

The feeling of anxiety is understandable. We humans are putting so much carbon into the air and so many poisons into the water and land that you wonder how we, and all of nature, are going to survive.

I don’t have eco-anxiety, other than the endless scream inside my being in response to my belief that we humans are on a path to self annihilation. Other than that, I’m totally digging my time on the planet. My theory is that I am doing what I can, and doing better all the time, to have a smaller footprint so the earth can heal, and that’s the best I can do.

I do not eat animals, which I think is my biggest contribution. I did not have children because I decided there were already enough people. I wouldn’t expect others to adopt these two strategies.

I choose lifestyle changes over medications. I don’t pour toxins into any land I inhabit. I use CFLs and Energy Star-rated appliances and hope someday to get photovoltaics on my roof. And I totally connect with nature. That is my therapy. On the downside, I do love my long, hot baths. And I travel an awful lot.

The planet can cleanse some of what we throw at it. Such is the miracle and power of nature. But it cannot handle the burden now. I do my part. But I cannot control corporate greed. I cannot control religious zealotry. I cannot control ignorance and evil.

What keeps me calm is that no matter what we do, whether our species survives or dies off, nature will prevail — cells will continue to divide and bacteria will continue to transform matter. That’s a comforting thought.

According to Dr. Gavin Schmidt, who studies climate variability at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan:

“There’s a scientific reason to be concerned and there’s a scientific reason to push for action, but there’s no scientific reason to despair.”

1 Comment on Earth Day Is Coming — How’s Your Eco-anxiety Level?

  1. Why S?

    I too have chosen against eating animals and reproduction. I don’t use pesticides of any sort. But I drive from Echo Park to West LA every week day. There aren’t many reasonable options.
    As we remodel our house, replacing the drafty louvered windows with more energy efficient ones will be a big help along with all the new insulation. And we’ve decided against installing air conditioning. Instead, we’re going with a whole house fan.
    I could probably use fewer paper towels.