By Greta Prause ’23
I grew up being afraid of drowning in my own bedroom. I noticed how it snowed less and less every year in my hometown. Thousands of people in my country lost their houses last year because of flooding. I see how my planet is suffering. “The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.” This sentence is stuck in my head, and I still panic every time I hear it. Countless times I have been told that there will be no future for me—and because of me.
Global warming and its effects have become an incredibly important topic in our society during the last few years. “Fridays For Future,” “Greenpeace,” and Greta Thunberg: I have been hearing these names more often than my own. Our society is facing a terrifying crisis: the changing of our climate. We all know that our climate is changing and affecting our world, and we all know that it is our own fault. I started worrying about it a lot, but worrying about my carbon footprint is unproductive and just stresses me out. That is why I started to change little things in my daily life. For example, I rode my bike more often, I became vegan, and I stopped using plastic bottles. Did this help? No, the planet is still getting hotter. Individual actions are statistically meaningless. Feeling like I am not helping is discouraging. I came to the conclusion that my actions on a consumer level are more of an ego boost than a way to stop climate change. While I knew that I was doing the right thing, I also knew that I do not help the world at all. I was only helping myself by boosting my ego. I lost all of my hope for my future. Whenever I heard or saw anything about global warming, there was an anxiety reaching my body, I got goosebumps, and my face turned pale. I was suffering from eco-anxiety, which is defined as a constant worry about our planet, the state of earth, and the concern for all living inhabitants present and future. Society told me that this anxiety is an irrational fear that needs to be overcome, one that meditation and healthy coping mechanisms will fix. I thought that the only way to be hopeful again is action from everyone. Now I know that engaging with my community through what I’m passionate about can help. None of my individual actions are saving the planet, but they can pave a path to a better planet and future. That is why it is so important to let people know what they can do. Here is what you can do:
Use a recyclable bottle,
Reduce your waste,
Walk little distances,
Stop using those stupid plasic plates,
Pick up trash when you see it,
Reduce flying on an airplane,
Only buy local and seasonal food.
I now believe—and tell my anxiety—that we can cause change if we all work together. With a lot of help and a positive attitude, we can help our planet recover.