Climate Anxiety

This morning I settled down to meditate and frankly I was all over the place. Some days are easier than others but at the moment I am in the midst of a mental struggle. That much I recognise. But struggling about – or against – what? What are these fleeting thoughts that charge about my synapses, appear as clear as day and then vanish before I have a hold of them. I should be able to shoo them away myself but they have their own velocity, and their own veracity.

So why this erratic mental behaviour and why now? Well, partly it’s been around for ages but I do recognise that it is the conjunction of two big concerns, that of the climate crisis and the fact that Christmas is looming out of the fog like the vast hulk of a deserted ship.

Studies into the impact of climate change on mental health are quite common and there is enough ‘academic’ material available to keep you reading well into the next decade. I suppose that the climate crisis triggers these anxiety responses because we – I – feel that there is nothing that can be done to stall or reverse it. In fact, perhaps the only thing I can do is to learn to cope with the changes that it will bring. If I think about that rationally, as I approach my 70th birthday, and given the ages my antecedents reached, I only have another couple of decades at the most to worry about this. But then I think about my grandchildren and the first of probably several great-grandchildren. What sort of a world have I made for them?

I feel personally responsible for their future and their future welfare. How will they cope? What will happen in their lifetime?

I have turned down the thermostat, spend most of my life in one room, only use the car when necessary (which is difficult when you live in a village). I seldom buy clothes, I don’t fly anywhere, no longer go abroad. What more can I do? And why should I if the governments across the planet cannot agree about what they should do?

And then out of the fog looms Christmas. “Well, we have always bought this for so-and-so.” “Well, they want this-and-that.” How do you approach the subject of making a donation instead of a present?

On my meditation stool these thoughts fly around my head, coming and going like an annoying fly at the window but when you get there to open it, off the fly goes to somewhere else, only to return when you move away.

Through CA-WN Exchange, CA-WN shows that even small things can make a difference. Individual voices can combine to make louder voices. I have a voice and I do small things but in this, the darkest time of the year, I ask, is it enough? I hope so.