The aberration of our life under climate change

How not to sink into eco-anxiety

Laurie Parma
4 min readFeb 6, 2024

Have you ever found yourself standing in front of your bathroom sink, staring at the faucet, thinking about the broader implications of having clean, running water? To the point that you’re wondering if you should let the water run, at all. I mean, of course, you need to wash your hands, but is it worth it? Is this precious water worth contributing to the looming crisis? Cringe but, do I really need to wash my hands? I recently discovered that it takes 60 uses for ceramic mugs or dishes rather than paper to reduce material consumption and 118 uses for them to be energy-saving. That’s when I spiral down and start to question everything. Should we stop showering altogether? Will I ever be able to enjoy a flight again? Don’t even get me started on having kids.

The aberration of our life under climate change can turn even the simplest tasks into a paralysing nightmare. It’s not just about letting the water run or considering taking a flight to visit family. It’s about the cruellest sort of powerlessness: even if I don’t fly, that plane will take off, and someone else will take my seat. It’s like being stuck in a never-ending game of hot potato, except the potato is the fate of the planet. Eco-anxiety is no joke.

Courtesy of Unsplash

How to stop overthinking?

To stop overloading our brains with constant climate decision-making, our best bet is to create systems and habits that allow us to run — sustainably — on auto-pilot.

Control what you can

Instead of constantly overthinking and ending up in a cluster fuck, making sustainability a way of life. While I can’t control what other people do, I can control what I do. That’s what I choose to focus on. Instead of getting bogged down by the fact that someone else is taking a flight, I focus on the fact that I’m doing my part and what I believe is right.

Don’t compare

In this situation, as in any other, comparing ourselves to others is corrosive to our sense of empowerment. Let’s avoid carbon-shaming our neighbours. This is not a competition, it’s a team effort.

Effortless habit and routines

Making sure my home is properly insulated and my appliances are energy-efficient. Walk or bike to work instead of driving. Switch to a plant-based diet. These small changes, when done consistently, can have a big impact.

There are good news, seek them out

News outlets don’t get rich on us being sane; they get clicks by us panicking. Several positive ecological and sustainability news outlets focus on sharing uplifting and inspiring stories. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. The Optimist Daily: The Optimist Daily publishes positive news stories about environmental breakthroughs, social progress, and innovative solutions for a sustainable future.
  2. Good News Network: Good News Network covers positive news stories from around the world, including environmental achievements, conservation efforts, and sustainable initiatives.
  3. Inhabitat: Inhabitat is a design-focused platform that showcases sustainable architecture, innovative eco-friendly products, and renewable energy solutions.
  4. EcoWatch: EcoWatch provides a mix of news and feature articles on environmental issues, sustainable living, and climate solutions.
  5. Positive.News: Positive.News focuses on stories that highlight progress, innovation, and positive change in various areas, including the environment and sustainability.

These outlets can help balance out the overwhelming negative narratives and provide a more hopeful and constructive perspective on ecological and sustainability topics. For those special moments when you’ve been staring at the faucet for too long.

Trust the system

There are systemic changes that could soon be at play spon. For example, around the value of money and the meaning and mechanisms of sustainable finance. Among others, Kate Raworth proposes a new economic model called “doughnut economics” that focuses on creating a regenerative and distributive economy. This model emphasises the importance of balancing environmental sustainability and social well-being. By shifting our economic systems to prioritise these goals, we can create a more sustainable and equitable world.

Some of the suggested systemic changes include:

  • Rethinking how we measure economic success, moving beyond GDP to incorporate social and environmental indicators.
  • Implementing policies that promote fair distribution of resources and wealth.
  • Emphasising regenerative practices that restore and enhance natural resources and ecosystems.
  • Questioning the assumption that continuous economic growth is necessary or desirable and becoming “growth agnostic”

By embracing these systemic changes, we could eventually work towards a future where the value of money is aligned with the well-being of people and the planet.

There’s hope.



Laurie Parma

Neuropsychology researcher, turned organisational culture and change strategist. Moonlighting sustainable finance researcher.