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Climate emotions: what if in 2023 we tried to face them?

10 tips to better cope with eco-anxiety

Posted on Jan 17, 2023


Aïcha Besser

Communications Manager CLIMACT

Media expert(s)

Micaël Metry

Chargé de projet au Centre de compétences en durabilité et collaborateur à l'Espace Transitions UNIL

Climate emotions: what if in 2023 we tried to face them?

The ecological crisis and the climate emergency generate emotions that are sometimes uncomfortable and unpleasant, but always natural and useful. Indeed, these emotions inform us that something is wrong and set us in motion to adapt. But when they are repressed by the individual or pathologized by society, emotions, such as eco-anxiety, no longer play the role they should: that of an alarm signal.

Here are 10 suggestions from Micaël Metry, expert in ecopsychology:

1. Move information from the head to the body, by feeling what is happening inside.

2. Don't go immediately to solutions, hope or optimism. That can come later.

3. Define for yourself your eco-anxiety: all feelings, emotions, behaviors, and cognitions related to the catastrophic state of our world.

4. Reframe your eco-anxiety as a warning signal, a healthy response to a deeply sick system and stop pathologizing it as a disorder.

5. Start from gratitude rather than despair.

6. Don't repress your eco-anxiety, but welcome it and work through it.

7. Change our perception of our relationship with the world. We are part of the Earth and our eco-anxiety is a proof of our interdependence (systemic psychology and ecopsychology).

8. Take back our power to act, which is also interdependent.

9. Do not run away from your eco-anxiety in a hyperactive commitment that would lead to militant burn-out.

10. Connect with yourself, others and the natural environment.

To go deeper into the subject, watch episode 2 of our CLIMACT seminar with Micaël Metry in which he discusses the subject of climate emotions.

In this episode, you will also discover the reflections of Natacha Forte, collaborator of the Inner Transition Laboratory, supported by Action de Carême and EPER, who addresses the question of the inner transition and our ways of thinking. According to her, there will be no profound social and ecological transition without a transformation of consciousness.

It is important to contribute to the paradigm shift from a society that destroys life to one that respects it.

In her opinion, this implies a profound revision of our values, a metamorphosis of our ways of being and living, a transformation of our view of others - human and non-human.

About the author:

Micaël Metry is a project manager at the Center of Competence in Sustainability and a collaborator at the Espace Transitions UNIL.

After graduating in Environmental Geosciences at UNIL, Micaël turned to the human and psychological aspects of ecology. He trained in ecopsychology and in the Work That Binds, a process of accompaniment of emotions linked to the state of the world and empowerment. He is currently working at the UNIL's Competence Center in Sustainability, which includes the Espace Transitions. 

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