As environmentally conscious curious earthlings, it can seem disheartening at times as we read countless news stories of insufficient action by governments, business and the rest of the world. THE WORLD IS ON FIRE! So why are we still flying to Marbella (or York!) rather than embracing slow travel, divesting from fossil fuels, and embracing nature-first recovery as we know we should?!
Whether you work in the sustainability sector itself, or just care deeply about environmental and social issues, it can often feel like your job is never done – THERE ARE STILL SO MANY PROBLEMS TO FIX AND NOT ENOUGH TIME TO DO IT!
Throwing all of our energy at once into tackling this systemic issues is incredibly unsustainable – and burn out is a problem that all environmentally-conscious individuals must strive to prevent. So how do we, curious earthlings, prevent such burn out? How can we stay focussed, and deliver impact (however small) continuously, without getting to the point where we throw our hands in the air. How do we stop ourselves from quitting the fight we know we need?
It’s ok to not be ok…but with the following ideas and ‘top tips’, we hope you might feel a little bit more ok, and you might find it ok to keep trying…
1. Old news is not necessarily bad news
Keeping up to date with environmental and social topics is important. But reduce those news alerts and limit your time scrolling endlessly on news-sites reading the ‘latest’ articles (which are often written for dramatic effect). Instead, focus more on reading carefully curated long-form journalism written by authors and journalists whose opinion is considered, thoughtful, and not just focussed on raising their SEO *cough cough curious earth cough cough*.
2. Embrace other, slower forms of information
Look to other sources of information that are well-researched, more balanced and less sensationalist. Immerse yourself in interesting books on your chosen sustainability topic, listen to a podcast, watch a film, go to an exhibition. These forms of art and culture take time to develop, and often explore the topic with more depth – often leading to less sensationalism, less panic-inducing headlines, and ultimately, more information without the panic!
3. Get out in nature
Leave the book/tv/headphones at home and go out and connect with nature in your local area. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant…notice the change in seasons in your local park, listen for birds, notice how the sunlight catches the leaves at certain times of day. Take pleasure in the beauty that is the world around you, and remind yourself of our intimate connection with the natural world – even if it is that sodding pigeon that keeps coo’ing by your window at early o’clock in the morning…
4. Take local action together
Get involved in environmental and social action in your local area. As well as making an impact on local issues, you may also meet similar people with similar values and outlook. Share your trials and tribulations, and come together to collectively identify opportunities to advance change. The benefits: new friends, interesting conversations, and tangible changes in your local community!
5. Share your concerns
We are a sustainability community, and you are not alone in having these feelings. Share your frustrations, your concerns, and your general thoughts with your friends, colleagues and families. A problem shared is a problem half-solved, and together you can support one another…and celebrate your achievements!!
6. Take a break
Sometimes we all just need a break. It can be exhausting and emotionally taxing to keep going. Knowing when enough is enough is also totally ok. Remind yourself to take a break from the news, switch off from sustainability conversations, watch some trash TV or have a nice bath. It’s ok to not be the “perfect” eco warrior – you can’t save the planet alone!
We’ve compiled a few handy hints, but acknowledge that it’s not easy – the environmental and social crises we face are complex, messy, systemic and existential…if they were that easy to solve we would probably have solved them all by now. The curious earth community is one community that you can use as a support as you continue to take action (however small) on environmental and social issues you care about.
Remember, we’re all in this together!
- Check out our previous post offering advice on how to connect with nature in your daily life
- And this post on how to green-ify your garden
- Read uplifting news that fills you with hope – plug to the Positive News crew, who fill our brains with optimism in their quarterly magazine
- This latest BBC podcast explores the future world if we do reach our biodiversity goals – an optimistic listen
- Google ‘area where you live’ + ‘thing you care about’ and find out if there is already a local community/activist group in your area to join
- If you are struggling to find a sympathetic ear for your climate concerns, see if you can attend a local or online climate cafe, such as the ones run by the Climate Psychology Alliance.