Navigating Eco-Anxiety: Find Solace in Action

A fellow friend and environmentalist recently wrote me: "Some of my friends (and me, if I'm being real) have been feeling depressed and hopeless about the state of the world and how badly we and our ancestors are harming Earth and other sentients..."

Her words hit home. It's something I've felt for a long time. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and sometimes, if you don't catch them soon enough, they turn into dangerous apathy.  In psychology, they have a term for it, a term that was never needed until our generation: eco-anxiety

The American Psychological Association has defined eco-anxiety (also known as eco distress and climate-anxiety) as "the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change and the associated concern for one's future and that of next generations". Extensive studies have been done on ecological anxiety since 2007. It's no surprise that, while not a medical diagnosis, eco-anxiety can lead to other diagnosed mental health issues if left unchecked.

In our modern world, the specter of environmental degradation looms larger than ever before. With each passing day, headlines scream warnings of melting ice caps, vanishing species, and polluted air. Whether it's the fear for our children's future, the guilt of our own contribution to climate change, or the overwhelming scale of the problems we face, eco-anxiety can weigh heavily on our hearts and minds. It's no wonder that many of us find ourselves grappling with eco-anxiety.

This pervasive anxiety isn't just a personal issue—it's a societal one too. It saps our motivation to act, leaving us feeling paralyzed and ineffective. But here's the thing: while eco-anxiety may be understandable, it's not insurmountable.

The first step in combating eco-anxiety is acknowledging it. Recognize that your feelings are valid and shared by many others, including myself. Then, channel that anxiety into action. Instead of succumbing to despair, use it as fuel to drive positive change.

Second, start by educating yourself about the issues at hand. Knowledge is power, and understanding the root causes of environmental problems can empower you to take meaningful action. From reducing your carbon footprint to advocating for policy change, there are countless ways to make a difference.

But perhaps the most important antidote to eco-anxiety is community. Join forces with like-minded individuals and organizations who share your passion for protecting the planet. Together, you can amplify your impact and provide each other with much-needed support and encouragement.

These are the steps I took at Sage Leaf Studio to develop a community of like-minded art- and nature-lovers. I took my passion for art and recognized that the art community at large is not ecofriendly (read more here). I've become educated, and am starting to build a community of awareness and support, and support wildlife conservation through my art. It has given me something positive to focus on, rather than negative. If you are here, I am grateful that you are a part of this community, and we can affect some positive change together.

Remember, combating eco-anxiety is not a one-time task—it's an ongoing journey. Celebrate our shared victories, no matter how small, and don't be too hard on yourself when setbacks occur. By taking action, fostering community, and refusing to give in to despair, we can overcome eco-anxiety and create a brighter, more sustainable future for all... one paint stroke at a time.

If you want to join my eco-minded art community, you can find us on Instagram at @sage_leaf_studio and you can find ecofriendly art at

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With hope and determination, Jenny

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