When we read about the growing effects of climate change, we often feel a gnawing sense of dread. Sometimes it’s rage. But more often, it’s what psychologists call eco-anxiety. The term describes existential pain and anxiety about the impact of climate change on the planet. But, it’s not just stress from stressing about the future; it’s also from stressing about the present state of our planet. But worry no more, a group of recent college graduations have teamed up for a mindful solution.
A well-thought solution to the tackle this climate anxiety comes in the form of an effort that encourages introspection between wellness and environmentalism through the act and art of journaling – The Climate Journal Project. While the completely volunteer-run project led by California-based Yvonne Cuaresma initially started as a newsletter, she realised that to help more people interconnect internal and planetary healing, a larger initiative was needed. And that is how a namesake Kickstarter project for a guided journal to help our generation process and conquer environmental anxiety was born. By working through the carefully crafted prompts, journalers can work towards alleviating environmental anxiety. Once people feel connected to the planet and these fears are addressed, climate action will follow.
Funding for the project is currently underway and is sprinkled with well-thought rewards including access to Waste Free Earth’s Zero Waste course for individuals or businesses (that is valued at $100), as well as a free guided meditation with 50% off on We Heal for All’s Climate Circles. You can support the campaign on Kickstarter till 20th February, 2020 by clicking here. Ayushi speaks to Yvonne over email to know more about this thoughtful idea that intersects mental health and climate solutions:
Ayushi Shah (AS): What motivated you to launch this project?
Yvonne Cuaresma (YC): With the heaviness of the pandemic, some personal challenges and changes, I turned to journaling and yoga as self-care practices. I was inspired to pick up my journal again because I rediscovered some old diaries in my childhood bedroom. To me, climate advocacy starts with gratitude — that’s the truest form of climate work. Climate action and productivity will follow in more ways you can imagine if we just start within. Hence, The Climate Journal Project — a way to deconstruct the climate crisis without feeling hopeless.
AS: Why is addressing and overcoming eco-anxiety and eco-grief important to take climate action?
YC: Research shows that millennials are experiencing the fastest growing depression rates and one of the five leading concerns that contribute to this depression and anxiety is climate deterioration. The Climate Journal Project’s goal is to bring awareness of climate anxiety and environmental grief, by using the power of reflection and journaling to create a space for internal and planetary healing. This year, with the launch of the project, I’m truly inspired by the journaling practice as a catalyst or motivator for sustainability. Without a full understanding of who we are, why we do the things we do and what world we want to live in, we may not easily be able to figure out our purpose and how we can contribute to a large scale issue like climate change.
AS: What role does The Climate Journal play in addressing that anxiety?
YC: My hope is that the journal inspires and represents a sense of gratitude for our planet. Anxiety is tricky, it’s a different experience for everyone. The journal is a place to unplug, release and deconstruct the complex ideas and experiences of the climate crisis. The prompts serve as guidance for reflection, and our climate action tips and tricks support folks when they feel hopeless. We are excited to support our eco-colleagues in their work by directing our journalers to some of the solutions! And, within the next year, our goal is to launch the journal book and donate these books and programs to marginalized communities.
AS: Could you tell me more about the thought/ creative process behind the design and the making of the journey?
YC: We initially started with sending eco-focused journal prompts via our newsletter and we had 200+ journalers join us from all over the world. We followed the journal challenges with virtual sessions and we are now producing our very first climate journal books. As for the process behind the prompts, we wanted to represent internal and planetary healing. With guidance from healers, spiritual leaders and climate advocates, our prompts are meant to inspire folks to start and maintain a relationship with the planet.
You can support The Climate Journal Project’s project by donating to their Kickstarter campaign here. To become a part of their community, follow them on Instagram on @climatejournalproject and on their Facebook page here.
‘On Our Radar‘ section focuses on sustainable ideas and environmental innovations. We explore the intersection of design with green solutions, highlight innovative projects to tackle issues around the environment and help you learn more about how green changemakers work on reducing human impact on the environment with their social enterprises and projects.
Eco-Spotlight is a digital publication that focuses on different aspects of climate change solutions: projects and ideas focused on sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, environmental businesses, eco-friendly practices, and similar green initiatives. Through our solution-focused interviews and articles, we want to bring good news to the forefront and remind the world – without hope, there is no future. We also syndicate our content with White Print, India’s first English lifestyle magazine in Braille.