Climate change: facing our fears

I’m writing this as Europe is in the grips of a terrible heatwave that’s just broken the 40 degree record here in the UK. I would never wish this unbearable and often deadly weather on anyone but it’s making people talk. It’s making people wonder. Could this be connected to the way we live on planet earth?

Why does it have to take these incredible extreme weather events to make people see that the climate & ecological emergency is real?

I’ve been an environmental activist since 2009. I was a political activist and local councillor then finding I was disillusioned with party politics, moved on to join Extinction Rebellion (XR) nearly four years ago believing that non-violent direct action was the only way to literally wake people up!

I know XR made a difference but I think I’ve come to realise that only this – the extreme weather events affecting people today here in the UK will ultimately start to shake us from our apathy, fear and denial.

So where does that leave us. What do we do with our fears, how do we cope with our anxiety and how do we grieve for the things we are losing and deal with change like we’ve never known.

This is now where my own personal journey has taken me. To help with the collective fear, the anxiety and the loss – I’ve spent the last 6 years moving towards a place where I can be best equipped to help others – as a psychotherapist. I believe we are in an incredible time of transition and one where all of us will be expected to step up and play our part.

I’m still an activist, still a campaigner. You’ll still see me urging you to find ways to do things about climate change. Transition from your car to a healthier, cheaper and less polluting car free life. Pledge to be flight free and cut out meat and dairy. Avoid fast fashion, stop buying useless crap produced using more fossil fuels and shipped across the world and switch your energy provider and bank account to ones that do not fund fossil fuels and other basically criminal stuff like supplying arms to countries waging wars. Shop ethically and locally and grow your own food if you can.

And finally and most importantly – become an activist yourself. Be the change. Tell others that you ARE the change and that they can be too. Post flight free pledges on your social media, invite your non vegan friends to a vegan supper, offer to share or give a friend a trial run on your electric bike. Organise a clothes swap, create a community garden or set up a local climate cafe or tiny house project like we have here in Exeter. The ideas and opportunities are literally endless. Find or create something you are passionate about.

You have the potential to literally change the course of humanity. You can stand at this crossroads right now and take the road where you give up or turn away or… embrace your fears and uncertainties and be part of a new way of being – a brand new future. A way that opens you up to such connection and love like you have never known. The complete antidote to despair. Which route will you choose?

If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety, grief or despair connected with climate change and biodiversity loss you can get support from the Climate Psychology Alliance.

Don’t forget you can add your comments on this article below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.