A compassionate approach to eco-anxiety

Glen Cousquer (Artist)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

Abstract / Description of output

To be alive today, at this moment in the history of life on earth, is to be both entangled, and in relationship, with a complex collection of interconnected crises. More and more of us are feeling the urgency of these crises; our students in particular, are aware that the world they are inheriting is in grave peril, as the web of living systems unravels.

Psychologists and mental health professionals have been warning for some time about the growing number of people who feel overwhelmed by the scientific reality of ecological breakdown. Whether we are scientists, teachers, researchers or students watching the alarming trends or reading, as I did earlier this week, just how bad our food systems are for birdlife, biodiversity and the planet (Rigal et al., 2023) … we are all finding ourselves challenged to live with a near-constant sense of imminent danger coupled with an awareness that we are part of the problem and have yet to become part of the solution. This is eco-anxiety! It is like living with a tiger in your front room. And it is a challenge we are largely unprepared for because we have not yet integrated the necessary emotional and spiritually literacy needed to work with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA) into our curricula. In this short blog, I want to explore how we turn into the challenge and develop a curious, compassionate and courageous approach to eco-anxiety.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Eco-anxiety
  • Compassion
  • Uncertainty
  • Complexity
  • Systems thinking

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