Eco-anxiety (also known as climate anxiety or environmental anxiety) is defined as “a persistent worry of environmental calamity” in an article published in the American Psychological Association.
Even if you’re not concerned about our planet’s warming, this sounds terrifying.
Ones, particularly young people, are growing increasingly concerned about climate change. A Bath University poll of 10,000 children and young people aged 16 to 25 in ten nations revealed that 84% were concerned about climate change, with 59% of the total being highly concerned.
These young people also felt let down and misled by their governments, which may exacerbate anxiety by instilling a sense of powerlessness. That sense of impotence may raise pressure and lead to individuals feeling disenfranchised and unable to act, creating a vicious cycle. This circular thinking may also lead to young people being unable to problem solve and think creatively, which are precisely the qualities we need to cultivate in our youth if we are to confront the crisis straight on.
Despite the fact that it is a catastrophe impacting humanity and will result in the relocation and extinction of many species, we are making progress in addressing many of these challenges. For example, transaction carbon management expert Cogo collaborated with environmental artistic consultant Daze Aghaji to convince the Royal College of Psychology that climate anxiety is a genuine issue and a menace to young people.
Cogo also began a climate series, and Daze spoke frankly about her climate justice advocacy and how it helped her manage her eco-anxiety symptoms in one of them.
There is an argument to be made for adopting a more optimistic attitude on the future of humanity and the earth we live on. People and organizations are taking significant constructive measures, but it is all too easy to overlook them as our attention is drawn to panic-filled protest slogans and headlines. It’s a paradox: if we focus too much on this, we feel helpless to act.
And if this is hard for adults, consider how awful it is for a young kid, seeing their friends waving banners like “you’re going to kill us all!” and “Earth will survive climate change, we won’t!”. As much as I totally support the freedom to protest and efforts to get more young people interested in and enthusiastic about climate change, these efforts must be paired with innovative, solution-focused activism that demonstrates to children that things can change. That they have the ability to effect change.
So, how does your financial company fit into this?
If the lack of perceived change in their governments affects young people, they need to witness people and organizations making good changes – and they will be loyal to those organizations that not only fit with their ideals, but actually act on those shared values.
This is where reporting and communication on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues come into play. Not only must you work toward precise and achievable goals, but you must also successfully convey your accomplishments to investors, customers, and staff.
Taking action has rewards that extend beyond the immediate – not only do you receive the outcome of the specific activity, but you also have the opportunity to influence, energise, and motivate young people to make a change. This transformation may result in more positive outcomes when the energized, enthusiastic, creative individuals influenced by your activity find themselves able to produce more solutions and their own positive activities.
Taking action is the first step toward this snowball effect of good transformation. I’ve talked about how to develop your first people and planet policy in a previous article, but to summarize:
Analyze what your company does, which practices and policies are already having a beneficial impact, and where modifications are needed (enlist the help of your employees for this idea-generation mission!)
Make actionable goals and objectives, and then put them into action.
Discuss your progress – inform your consumers, employees, and investors about the changes you are making and why you are doing them.
Maintain attainable goals and be open about the benefits and drawbacks of what you’re doing.
Don’t be scared to seek assistance in developing and disseminating these policies.
You will inspire those around you if you put this into action. Your employees will be energized to know that their efforts are making a difference. You will improve consumer and investor loyalty since they will see their engagement with you has a beneficial influence.
And it is by nurturing this positivism that your stakeholders (and you!) will be able to retain positive mental health when coping with these difficulties. When faced with anxiety-inducing circumstances, it will protect the body from going into fight, flight, or freeze mode and keep you working toward a more constructive and equitable future.