How can I become more eco-friendly?

A young person sits in the centre of an illustration of Planet Earth

A white banner with text that reads 'young people's voices'

My name is Samah Rashid, I’m a 17-year-old student and volunteer at the Mix. I love working with people, being a part of a community and exploring my passions with writing and creativity.

Young people and climate change

Our world has become so digitalised, that we spend every waking moment staring at a screen, hearing about the news, or interacting online. Our time spent in quarantine, over this past year, has opened our eyes to a lot of the necessary changes that need to be made in our world, including the ones concerning climate change. Ever since Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish environmental activist, began to call for stronger action on climate change in 2018, she became a voice for the youth of today and she also taught us the power of using our own.

By bringing light to a topic that had not been spoken about enough, she was able to engage with younger people who had never considered the effects of climate change before. However, while this movement has positively created an awareness and encouragement around the discussion, it has also become very overwhelming to the people who don’t know how to deal with the lack of control; this is detrimental to the fundamental cause.

Anxiety about climate change

Eco-anxiety affects many young people, and it refers to the fear of an ecological disaster. This sense of anxiousness and nervousness stems from the uncertainty of the future state of our environment and our world. And indeed, while it seems that some people are panicking about the struggle to defeat the issue, many are simply overwhelmed by its magnitude. Some are also mindful of their position on a planet filled with 8 billion people and they feel powerless. These feelings can also stem from the lack of control we have and the fear of being at risk, or having loved ones at risk of climate-related extreme weather, including hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires.

How can I manage my anxiety about climate change?

It’s important that you take action to manage your anxiety, and finding your place in a community can be a huge help. There are several support, volunteer, and activist groups that you can connect with easily and being able to work towards tangible solutions within this group can help you gain a greater sense of control in these overwhelming circumstances. Find out about some local groups you can join.

Read Force of Nature’s guide to coping with eco-anxiety.

 

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In this age of technology, it’s also important to recognise the amount of positive and negative news that you’re reading. With the power of social media, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the articles, reports and words we consume, and this can be damaging to our mental health. Taking the opportunity to productively choose what you will consume can really help the anxiety to subside. However, if the anxiety is so severe that you are unable to take on everyday tasks, then you should consider seeking professional help. Get in touch with our team for free and confidential support and information.

For extra information on anxiety, read The Mix’s article.

What practical things can I do to help the planet?

It’s important to take on opportunities that can help manage your own anxieties as everyone struggles in different ways. Beginning by recognising your efforts and thoughtful choices towards improving the environment is a great start and here are some simple steps to become more eco-friendly:

  1. Turn it off

Switching off your lights as soon as you leave the room can help to preserve your energy and reduce your carbon footprint – “hit the off switch and you could see huge improvements, most noticeably in your energy bills” – Good Energy

  1. Invest in eco-friendly technology

The eco-friendly market is growing, and you can preserve your electricity and reduce your carbon footprint by becoming as energy efficient as possible.

  1. Switch to renewables

Switch your energy supplier, it’s super easy, simple, and an effective way to know that all your electricity will be sustainably sourced.

  1. Don’t waste food

Wastage of food can contribute to the CO2 being produced in landfills. By composting your waste instead of throwing it away, you can reduce this amount of waste and benefit the environment.

  1. Recycle, recycle, recycle!

Recycle everything and reduce the unnecessary waste that you’re throwing away. Before throwing something away, always question if it can be recycled.

  1. Try to cut out plastic

Plastic has become very damaging to our environment, clogging up our oceans and ecosystems. Reducing the amount of plastic that you have by beginning to purchase fruits and vegetables loose, not buying bottled water and using canvas bags over plastic ones, can help to reduce your carbon footprint.

  1. Fix it, don’t throw it

You can be more environmentally friendly by repairing or fixing something over simply throwing it away, although it may be easier for convenience. Doing this will reduce the number of items that you throw away unnecessarily, which can benefit the environment as you reuse more.

  1. Eco-friendly cleaning products

Investing in eco-friendly cleaning products is much better for the environment than using products that contain a lot of harsh chemicals that aren’t environmentally friendly to create or dispose of.

  1. Plants some trees

When it comes to eco-friendly living, maintaining a stable ecosystem is vital and important for the sustainability of our environment. Making sure that we’re planting more trees to replace the ones felled by human developments is essential to protect the environment and improve air quality.

  1. Grow your own

Growing your own food is a great way to become more eco-friendly, cut down on your carbon footprint and save money. Allowing yourself to focus on something other than what’s going on inside your head, can really put your mind at ease and help with your anxiety.

By investing your time and energy into helping our Earth and the environment, it can help you with your anxiety, as you begin to do your part in improving our planet and making it a better place.

Next Steps

  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Holly Turner

Updated on 25-May-2021

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