7 Ways to Deal With Climate Anxiety

Marcia Sirota
4 min readJun 24, 2019

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Many of us are feeling pretty anxious about climate change these days. The situation is confusing and overwhelming and we don’t know what to do. Anxiety is a state of feeling helpless in the face of frightening possibilities, so the way to deal with anxiety, and specifically climate anxiety, is to take measures that will cumulatively make a difference.

Here are my 7 ways to cope with climate change anxiety:

Make small but meaningful changes for yourself and your family: There are little things that everyone can do every day to help the environment. You can give your kids their lunches in reusable containers and stop using disposable straws and single use plastics that end up polluting our waterways and killing off wildlife.

You can recycle more conscientiously and reuse things that you previously would have thrown away. We go through an enormous amount of toilet paper every year and it’s decimating our boreal forests, which are a source of the oxygen we need to breathe. You can try to limit the amount that your family uses every day.

Think about how you get around: Fossil fuels are a huge contributor to climate change. You can use public transportation instead of driving to work, and you can have your kids take their bikes to school. Consider investing in an electric vehicle. Also, you can choose to walk to the corner store and go on more local holidays, rather than fly long distances.

Stop being a consumer and start being a contributor: We buy so much stuff that we don’t need and barely use. If you were to think twice before making a purchase, it would be good for your wallet as well as the planet. We’ve accumulated so much garbage from our compulsive consuming that there’s less and less place to put all the waste. When you think before you shop, you create less waste and you save the green spaces needed for growing food and maintaining woodlands.

Think about how you dress yourself and your family: The fashion industry is a huge polluter due to the manufacturing process for clothing and the constant throwing out of perfectly good clothes. You and your family members don’t need to buy a whole new wardrobe every season. You don’t need 6 pairs of designer jeans. Think about buying gently used clothing, ecofriendly items, or vintage pieces and consider holding on to items if they’re still wearable.

Think about how you feed yourself and your family: Pesticides cause an enormous amount of damage to birds, bees and butterflies — the creatures that pollinate our food. Pesticides are also extremely harmful to our health.

For your family’s welfare and for the survival or our pollinators — and therefore our food supply — choose to eat organic, as much as possible. Also, the less beef, lamb and pork you eat, the more water and land you preserve, as it takes many, many more acres of land and many more thousands of gallons of water to raise a food animal that will give you the same exact nutrients as plant crops will.

Think about how you clean: We dump untold gallons of toxic cleaners into our bodies of water every day. If you switch to non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners for your home, your dishes, your clothing and your body, you’ll spare your own and your family’s health and you’ll protect the planet.

Think about whom you elect: The politicians whom we elect decide on the policies that will make all the difference in the next decades. We’re in a time crunch and every decision that’s made by our leaders will have an enormous impact on the future of our planet and the survival of our children and the generations to come.

It’s imperative that we elect politicians who have a green agenda and that we suck it up and make the necessary sacrifices, including paying a carbon tax, to ensure a future for the planet, for our loved ones and for ourselves. If we cheap out now, or if we forget that climate change is the most important political agenda of our times, there might not be a future for anyone.

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Marcia Sirota

Writer, speaker, MD, and author of the Short & Sweet Guides to Life book series