Addressing Eco-Anxiety

There is a lot going on in the world today. News about the impacts of climate change and other environmental issues can lead to eco-anxiety in our children as they fear for their future. As adults, the best way to help youth is by supporting them in taking eco-action. Research about Eco-Anxiety in children and their parents carried out by Earth Rangers and Ipsos Canada (2021) identified 5 Es to drive eco-action.

1. Empathy: Provide opportunities to discuss climate change and other environmental concerns. Help kids develop the vocabulary and skills to identify and express their feelings about these issues.

2. Education: Offer opportunities to learn about climate change and biodiversity in an age-appropriate way, and to develop social-emotional skills such as team work, problem solving, and efficient communication, which are key to successful eco-action.

3. Environmental Stewardship: Engage in nature education such as outdoor learning. Spending time in nature helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and contributes to overall wellbeing. It is also the chance to learn about and take action for nature.

4. Excitement: Make conservation activities and learning about the natural environment something for kids look forward to. Share stories of successful environmental action projects, especially children-led projects.

5. Empowerment: Support kids in identifying, organizing, and carrying out environmental projects. Eco-action not only helps children deal with eco-anxiety, but also helps them develop the self- confidence needed to continue participating in and leading stewardship projects.

More information can be found in the Eco-Anxiety to Eco-Action Educator's Guide.

Earth Rangers Club Missions are designed with these 5 Es in mind. Through participating in Club Missions, kids learn about environmental issues, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, and see how they can play a role in transforming their community into being more environmentally responsible.

As an additional support for educators, Earth Rangers developed the 5-week online “From Eco- Anxiety to Eco-Action” Micro-Credential. This course helps equip educators to respond to children’s feelings when discussing the environment and explores strategies to empower kids to take action.