How To deal With Eco Anxiety
AUTHOR: SALONI DAHANUKAR
Eco Anxiety or the ‘Environmental burden of Generation Z’ as Washington Post calls it, is defined as the “extreme fear and worry about current and future harm to the environment caused by human activity and climate change”.
While sustainable fashion brands like One Less are using sustainable fabrics to lessen climate impact for making long lasting essentials like Bamboo socks (you can buy our bamboo socks online), there also still exist cult fashion brands like Shein who are producing single use and cheap fast fashion where someone, somewhere is paying the real price. Realities like these trigger feelings of worry, nervousness and even depression in some, vastly referred to as the phenomenon of Eco Anxiety.
To assess the public opinion on Eco Anxiety, I asked my instagram followers their take on the term and how the world of fashion could contribute to addressing this widespread concern.
Tanishka, a twenty something year old from Pune, boldly said “Most eco anxiety I have stems from the fact that you still have to convince people climate change is happening. We need to take action now and people won’t even do the basics like not buying plastic bottles or straws”
She further adds that “As advanced as we have become with technology, sustainability practices are mostly about going back to old ways of consuming less, saying no to fast fashion, carrying your own tiffin, ditching plastic and shopping locally”
Tanishka speaks on behalf of those who are riddled by the lack of efforts to save the planet. In fact, a 2017 report titled “Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance,” highlights the severe mental health impact stemming from Eco Anxiety and the burden this state of mind can carry on a normal lifestyle.
A few other opinions from followers include:
“My anxiety is heavily triggered at music festivals or concerts, and I see drinks served in single use plastic cups, it takes away the fun of the show”
“When influencers normalise buying a new outfit every time they have to go on holiday, it stresses me out”.
Emphasising on the world of fashion in particular - buying clothes is still sold as a way to increase happiness. Perhaps a new swanky jacket can instantly turn a gloomy version of self into a happier one. However, the instant dopamine rush from ‘retail therapy' is just that - it's instant.
We are living in a world where we are almost compelled to consume more and more ( in short intervals) because somehow it relates directly to unequivocal happiness and self worth. However, with feelings such as eco anxiety, fear and worry about the future of our planet looming on our heads, where does one go to escape this dilemma? What can we do?
Here are three things that have helped me personally:
Now I know this may sound like a bunch of heavy words put together, but trust me it’s easy once you start being mindful of yourself. Appreciate the clothes you already own, unleash your creativity and style them in different ways. When the online world questions your willpower to buy that new pair of jeans, think about how the fashion marketing ninjas are trying to get into your head.
Get an accountability buddy
Count on me when I tell you this helps. Whether it's going to the gym, finishing a home decor project, or limiting your spend to one (or two) t-shirts a month. Celebrate your achievements at the end of the month, be it a coffee or going out for dessert together and discover the many benefits of not falling prey to trends.
Believing in your ethos
Remember that every single step counts. Every organic cotton t-shirt reused, every pair of bamboo socks bought and every upcycled mask gifted is one step of doing right for the planet. Buy what you believe in and use your advocacy to educate others.
Lastly, remember to take care of yourself and your wellbeing. Remember that the movement of climate activism is alot stronger and impactful with the UN, scientists, and many governments involved.
And remember that while you can’t change the world, you can take one step in the right direction, however small it may be.
In case you're looking for a sustainable clothing brand that does right by the environment, you can check out One Less’ collection of organic cotton t-shirts, sweatpants and many more wardrobe essentials One Less!