A few weeks ago I learned the new word “eco-anxiety” which apparently has become widely used in 2020. The American Psychological Association defines eco-anxiety as “a chronic fear of environmental doom”. To me, the word reflects the growing awareness of the problem of climate change, but also the feelings of despair and helplessness as we grapple with what’s going on in our planet.
It’s unfortunate that the environment is associated with anxiety when it can also be the source of peace, joy and wonder. But I think reflecting on emotions and the environment also points to paths forward. Spending time in the natural world around us can bring us peace when we feel anxiety. It also encourages us to prioritize caring for creation more and more. It may not remove our concerns, but it can certainly counter them with positives.