Climate change is accelerating at an alarming rate, according to the UN’s latest report. We’re on track for catastrophic consequences unless we pull together and move away from fossil fuel use in the next few years.
Those kinds of reports are not only alarming for the future of our species, but for our current mental health as well. Many people all over the world are experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns as a result of the climate crisis.
It’s critical for every nation to take drastic steps toward minimizing climate change, especially countries that are producing the most carbon. It will take political and economic change, as well as individual actions to make a meaningful difference.
Is the climate crisis keeping you up at night? Use it as motivation to protect our planet. Here are some ways we can fight climate change while improving our mental health.
Reducing Consumption of Fossil Fuels
One of the most important changes we can make as a species is reducing our use of fossil fuels dramatically, with the goal of eliminating them as quickly as possible. We can work toward this goal by relying more on clean energy like solar and wind power.
Not everyone can install solar panels on their homes (although it’s a great choice if you can!) but everyone can try to support businesses using clean energy, vote for initiatives that move clean energy forward, and encourage their local governments to switch over to renewable energy infrastructure.
We can also reduce the consumption of fossil fuels in other ways. Driving less by minimizing unnecessary trips or combining errands can help. Working from home and cutting out the commute is eco-friendly and can have mental health benefits as well. Flying less is also a great way to cut down on fossil fuel use and can encourage us to explore areas nearer to home we never would have considered!
Cutting Down on Meat & Dairy Consumption
Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change through the production of greenhouse gases, particularly from farms producing meat and dairy products. Although many people aren’t willing to give up red meat and cheese entirely, reducing our overall consumption of meat and dairy will have a significant positive impact on our planet’s health.
Another positive of reducing meat and dairy is better overall health. Many people find when they eat less meat and dairy that they feel better. This can also help promote good mental health.
Eating sustainably-produced meat and choosing local foods whenever possible helps to cut down on the fossil fuels used to produce and transport our foods. Plus, local foods will naturally be fresher and support local communities.
Spending More Time Outdoors
Getting in touch with nature can help us remember just how important it is to fight for the health of our planet. Spending time outdoors regularly is also a great way to improve our mental health and overall well-being.
There are also ways to help protect our planet by spending time outdoors. Cleaning up litter, maintaining hiking trails, and other types of volunteering are all great ways to take ownership of our planet’s health and stay in touch with nature.
Producing Less Trash
As a planet, we produce a staggering amount of trash. Plastics are especially problematic, and are responsible for issues like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Reducing our trash output is essential for creating a healthier planet.
Buying products that use less plastic packaging or buying in bulk and using reusable bags and containers is important for reducing plastic waste. Many cities have already put regulations in place to eliminate single-use plastic bags, for instance.
Reusing and repairing items is also an important component of producing less trash. Shopping used and keeping items as long as possible before discarding (or ideally, recycling or repurposing them) are great ways to reduce impact on the planet. It can also help us value the items we have more!
Getting Loud: Lobbying for Policy Changes & Regulation
Individual actions are important, but our political leaders and companies of all sizes have an even larger role in protecting our planet. That’s why it’s important to get loud and lobby for policy changes and regulations that will help slow down climate change and protect the health of the planet, the environment, and every human being.
Getting involved politically can be daunting, but it’s important for lawmakers to understand the priorities of their constituents. Getting involved can have the added benefit of reducing feelings of hopelessness and help people feel like they are truly making a difference. of Now is the time to speak up for the planet!
Protecting the Planet Is Critical for Our Collective Mental Health
One of the reasons people are feeling so much distress about the climate crisis is that it feels like it’s too late to do anything. While it is too late to prevent some consequences of a warming planet, there’s still a lot we can do—and a lot we must do.
Protecting our planet is also protecting the quality of life of the next generation. By doing everything we can to reduce harm, we can improve our collective mental health and create a more sustainable world for our children.