Last night, after reading about the recent thirty percent increase in ocean acidification due to global warming and the devastating consequences not only to sea life, but also to the essential food chains relied upon by billions of people worldwide, I broke down in tears. I cried for the loss of life. I mourned the extinction of species. I sobbed for the uncertain future not only my children face, but all the earth’s children.
It is not as if this was the first time I considered the biblical proportions of climate disruption, but for some reason this article hit me particularly hard. Maybe, this story was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Or maybe, it was because just last week, I visited a Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys and was shocked to see firsthand the very visible negative impacts of humans. Nearly every patient in the sea turtle hospital was there because of some human’s action or inaction. Whether a simple fishing line entanglement, being hit by a boat or because entire ecosystems such as Florida’s Indian Lagoon have been inundated with human waste, it was painfully clear to me that my species is wantonly destroying the planet and inflicting needless pain, suffering and death on so many other innocent beings – and what makes it worse is that we know better, yet do it anyways.
I went to bed depressed…and angry. I tossed and turned and had nightmares about our planet on fire.
The following day however I woke up and said, WE CANNOT GIVE UP! We still have a beautiful planet to save, as not all is lost. There is still hope! There are still so many healthy turtles in the sea, so many rainforests flush with life, so many polar bears on thin ice in need of our help, so I told myself stay passionate (forget calm) and carry on!
Yes, I was suffering from eco-anxiety, the overwhelming feeling of despair, fear and/or anger over the injustices and destruction of the planet and its inhabitants. From what I know about Care2 readers, I am sure many of you have had your share of eco-anxiety too. It is hard not to, if you are aware and care. To learn more about eco-anxiety, which is unsurprisingly becoming part of every psychologist’s lexicon, take a deep breathe and visit the links below.