The Amazon wildfires, the Australian bushfires, Typhoon Lekima. Maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe you haven’t. These are some of the environmental problems we’ve faced within the past year due to climate change and human activity.
For starters, the Amazon wildfires were caused by humans due to a process in deforestation where trees are left to desiccate and then later set on fire to clear the land for crops and agriculture. The fires got out of hand and quickly spread to other unintended parts of the Amazon. As a result, the fires caused a lot of destruction to the Amazon rainforest and put many species of plants and animals at risk.
As for the Australian bushfires, over 6.3 million hectares of land have already been burned. Due to the dry climate of the region and the rise in temperature from climate change, the frequency and intensity of bushfires in Australia has increased.
To this day, many people around the world are raising money and helping bring awareness to the unfortunate event in Australia. Celebrities like Chris Hemsworth, Elton John, and Kylie Jenner are only a few among the many who donated generous amounts to help the Australian bushfire relief.
While some people are raising money for causes like the Australian bushfires, others are raising awareness. For example, at the 2020 Golden Globes, Russell Crowe mentioned the bushfires in his acceptance speech and chose to bring awareness to the oncoming climate change issue.
Other environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, Jack Harries, and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez are all aiming to bring more awareness at a political and global standpoint. Many people know Greta Thunberg through her intensive campaigning against climate change when she started by protesting in front of the Swedish Parliament. Later on in September 2019, she was invited to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City where she took a zero-emissions yacht to get there from Sweden.
On another political standpoint there is Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an indigenous Mexican-American bringing global awareness to climate change by suing the U.S. government for climate inaction.
There is a new term being used by people, and that is eco-anxiety. Eco-anxiety is the strong concern or fear for the environment, its future, and how we affect it. It refers to the pressing matter of climate change because as each second passes all of our human activity worsens the issue.
Some scientists have characterized eco-anxiety as a mental disorder in more extreme cases.
The term has its pros and cons. One of its pros is it leads many people, not only environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, but even others like Kylie Jenner and Russell Crowe, to raise money and bring awareness to the issue at hand and help make it more globally known.
The danger of eco-anxiety, on the other hand, is that it can lead to more extreme symptoms for some people like panic attacks or depression. This seems to occur more with youths than adults. Eco-anxiety is a growing problem for the youth because all the symptoms they’re experiencing focus on something they can’t control.
What can we do to help people who experience eco-anxiety, and how do we stop climate change? Eco-anxiety isn’t easily fixed or reversed, but we can help by doing what we can to fight climate change. Climate change isn’t something that can be stopped, but it can be slowed down.
We can start by lowering our carbon footprint and reducing chemical emissions. We can also buy more organic foods and try to eat less meat. We can try to use less plastic, where applicable, by using reusable water bottles or bags instead of plastic ones. Lastly, we can try to carpool with a friend or take public transit instead of driving alone every day.
If you want a real challenge, try not to use transit at all and walk or bike instead. This will completely eliminate all your carbon emissions that prove to be harmful to our atmosphere. When you’re trying to help out the environment and slow down climate change, just remember that it’s never too late to start or to change. It’s not the end yet. Let’s keep it that way.