Combatting 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. A research study about Eco-Anxiety in children and their parents carried out by Earth Rangers and Ipsos Canada (2021) identified 5 Es which drive eco-action:

1. Empathy: Providing space and opportunities to discuss climate change and other environmental concerns.

2. Education: Offering learning opportunities about climate change and suggesting actions that can be taken to protect the natural environment.

3. Environmental Stewardship: Finding opportunities to spend more time outdoors to help foster a deeper connection to nature and spark new, tangible ways that kids can protect the natural environment.

4. Excitement: Making conservation activities and learning about the natural environment is something for kids to look forward to.

5. Empowerment: Giving kids ways to teach adults how to protect nature.

Earth Rangers Clubs is organized around fun Club Missions which were 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. They also develop social-emotional skills such as team work, problem solving, and efficient communication. Missions are completed in stages over time, starting with investigating the given environmental issue, and culminating in a fun event/activity/action project, with your club members leading the way!

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.

As an additional support for educators, Earth Rangers developed the 5-week online “From Eco-Anxiety to Eco-Action” Micro Credential. Based on research conducted by Earth Rangers, Ipsos Canada and leading experts, this course helps equip educators to respond to children’s feelings when discussing the environment and explores strategies to empower students to take action.