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From Climate Anxiety to Agency

How do we turn anxiety about the climate and nature crisis into empowerment and agency? Bringing your colleagues on the journey with you is a powerful place to start.

Written by:
George Biesmans

People everywhere are grappling with anxiety about the climate and nature crisis. For many, fear and despair is a daily reality - a perfectly normal response to an emergency of the kind we’re facing.

The good news is that there are steps which each of us can take to assuage that anxiety - by supporting ourselves and one another - whilst also playing a part in overcoming the crisis.

A powerful place to begin this journey is in our places of work. They are, after all, the vehicle through which many of us lead our daily lives and they harbour enormous potential for spurring positive change.

Here are 5 concrete steps to turn anxiety into agency at work:

1. Training for everyone

At AimHi Earth, we believe that hopeful, accessible and solutions-focused training is the key first step on any individual’s journey to becoming an agent of change. It is also a powerful tool for dealing with eco-anxiety and transforming the sense of helplessness it so often spawns into confidence, agency and hope.

By equipping yourself and your colleagues with the holistic understanding of the crisis, the tools to communicate about it with impact and an awareness that you can all be part of the solution, you’re actively turning hopelessness into empowerment. 

Regardless of your sector or job role, you have immense power to be part of the transformation already underway to combat the climate and nature crisis. Understanding how is a brilliant place to start.

2. Take action

Studies have shown that taking action on what is giving us anxiety can reduce feelings of powerlessness. Try focusing on one or two changes you can make at work or as an organisation and become a real champion for it. Small, localised action within one organisation really can make a difference, and can have enormous ripple effects in your sector, your community and beyond.

In the words of the wonderful Dr. Jane Goodall, “Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference”. Recognising the power you have to be part of the solution can help you see that the emergency is also an immense opportunity to steer us away from disaster and towards a happier, healthier and fairer world. 

3. Reconnect with nature (and yourself)

Spending time in nature is inherently good for us - for our bodies and for our minds. Even a few minutes outside a day can alleviate symptoms of depression, improve our mood, reduce our blood pressure and boost our immune system. 

What would it be like to integrate some time outdoors into your workday? “Sit Spot” is a simple practice which you can try out. Just pick a place near where you work and spend 10-15 minutes of your lunch break there a few times a week. There’s nothing you need to do, just sit there and see what comes.

The explorer Jacques Cousteau once said: “People will only protect what they love”. By spending time in nature, reconnecting with it and starting to see ourselves as part of it again, we are more likely to take care of it. Spending time in nature is not only good for us, but also for the living Earth itself. It’s probably one of the most powerful things you can do!

4. Tune into the good news

It can often seem that bad news is everywhere - but there are a thousand reasons to be hopeful and feel inspired every day. It’s important to seek out good news stories from time to time and take a break from the disheartening ones.

Head to platforms like the Good News Network or pop a hopeful and inspiring podcast on during your daily commute. From What if to What Next with Rob Hopkins or Jane Goodall’s Hopecast are other great places to start.

At AimHi Earth, we don’t sugarcoat the severity of the emergency but also strive to elevate hopeful, uplifting examples of change already rippling across the world and the many (many!) solutions we have at our disposal to turn the crisis around. It’s crucial that in the midst of a crisis, we remind ourselves that there are wonderful, inspiring things happening all around us.

5. Bring your colleagues, friends and family on the journey with you

Start courageous conversations with those within your sphere of influence - your colleagues, your friends, your family - talk to them with patience but urgency. Find common ground in these complex issues, help them to see how you’re feeling and where you’re coming from, and encourage them to find out more and join the movement. Focus on solutions and the tangible actions we can each take. Check out On Road Media’s ‘Framing Guide’ for inspiration. 

Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone is at different stages of their journey. Remember that we don’t need one perfect environmentalist, we need millions of imperfect ones. 

Finally, remember, if you are ever struggling and would like to speak to someone, the Trained Emotional Support Network offer specialist support to help manage the impact of climate breakdown on wellbeing. 


Ready to bring your organisation and your colleagues on this journey with you? Find out more about our training here and get in touch with us - we’d love to hear from you! 

If you’d like some help getting your team or senior management on board, we have a customisable email template you can use to do just that!