Thursday, April 6, 2017

Eco-Anxiety? Really?

The Good Steward

 Considering the world of psychological and mental health disorders, dysfunction and diagnosis, I wasn't quite sure what to think when I heard about the condition Eco-Anxiety that the American Psychological Association states is increasing, and commonly found throughout the world, with the on set of rapid climate change.

 Not surprisingly, those living in isolated areas of the North are bearing witness to the affects of climate change and have been at the forefront of raising awareness of this anxiety that is threatening the destruction of  habitat, their environment, and even our world.

  When I was a kid I had a friend who's parents immigrated to Canada from Denmark. I vividly recall my friend's mother, who I think was way ahead of her time, considering it was 1966, 51 years ago, giving us fairly regular health lessons about our bodies and the environment.

 As we huddled over the kitchen table, Annette's mother would show us text books with pictures of healthy and unhealthy bodies, about breast cancer and  the like and discuss diseases. I think they must have been European medical books. She was also was very informed about global warming, explaining to us in detail how the green house affect was going to be devastating to our world, if there wasn't some preventative action taken.

 Looking back, these facts she shared were disconcerting to a couple of prepubescent girls. I know her intention was to try and prepare us for what was to come. But the thought of the greenhouse affect really did make me anxious then, and couldn't imagine what I could possibly do about it, which left me with a feeling of dread.

 I'm certain Annette was use to all these kinds of reality lessons from her mother, but I wasn't. My parents were basically comfortably ignorant, struggling with their own issues and so we were all just trying to be happy, and that seemed to be a hard enough thing to do, let alone taking on the causes of climate change that no one had ever heard of yet.

I'm not complaining about Annette's mother's lessons. I'm glad she tried to educate us at such a young age. It's something I never forgot about, and of course I'm now acutely more aware of health and environmental issues today, and I think Annette's mum was in part responsible for me being this way.

Eco-anxiety isn't something I am overwhelmed with. Having a sense of humour helps, but there sure are times when I feel despondent and about the state of the world, how greed and power supersedes the health and welfare of humanity.

Like the proactive, good steward David Suzuki says, he has to have hope, and so I too have to remain hopeful, and concentrate on proactively practicing good stewardship, instead of staying stuck in Eco- Anxiety.

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