Roots of Resilience: Overcoming Eco-Anxiety in the Garden Leave a comment

From constant wildfires sweeping the country to dismal reports of the coral reef, it seems like all we hear about the environment is bad news. As a result, many people face eco-anxiety as a direct response. Here’s what we can do about eco-anxiety and how we can make a difference within our own garden.

combating eco anxiety

It wasn’t until I had my own Kiddo that eco-grief hit me hard. While always a concern of mine, the future of the environment became one of my top priorities. I wanted to make sure I contributed to making the world a better place for Kiddo.

I’m raising my own little eco-warrior, teaching him both the reality of what we’re doing to our environment but also all the things we can do to help it.

With how modern media works, it can be easy to fall far into the doom of it all. Eco anxiety is a very real feeling that many people face when it can be hard to see the sunlight amongst all this doom and gloom.

Many people end up avoiding the news altogether to avoid feeling anxious and overwhelmed by the negativity, which is a completely fair response.

But Mother Nature needs our help, and the more people who feel ready to fight on her behalf, the better.

Here’s what you need to know about eco-anxiety and what you can do to combat it as a gardener.

regenerative gardening to stop eco anxiety
Less curated gardens are often more supportive of local wildlife.

What is Eco-Anxiety?

A relatively new term, eco-anxiety is used to describe the increased anxiety about the growing environmental crisis. It is an emotional response, often resulting in varying levels of distress and overwhelm.

Eco anxiety, or climate anxiety, can be about the immediate fear of facing a climate disaster such as a flood or fire, or it can be about the exposure of climate change info and media and how it will affect the present and future generations.

Most of the media surrounding climate change feeds into this fatalistic thinking. About 1/3 of Canadians think it is too late to curb the effects of climate change.

Youth, indigenous peoples, marginalized communities, first responders, and those who live in higher-risk areas are more likely to experience eco-anxiety. Approximately 40% of Gen Z said that fears about the future make them reluctant to have kids.

The more aware you are of climate change issues and the more connected you are to the land, the more likely you are to experience some kind of climate anxiety.

what is eco anxiety
Raising the next generation to have a connection to nature is key.

The Rise of Climate Optimism

When pretty much all major media surrounding climate change feeds into this doom mentality, it’s no wonder that so many of us feel the symptoms of eco-anxiety.

But it’s best to focus on what we can control. After all, humans started the climate crisis, and we will be the ones to stop it. While it’s important to understand the reality and severity of the situation, we should focus more on our next steps rather than what’s been done or could happen.

Our current reality is that a new set of ethics is needed for our survival as a species. The earth will be just fine long after we are gone.

Truly, the only option is to respect Mother Earth and thank her for allowing us to live here by getting along with our neighbours and the flora and fauna with which we share this beautiful place.

This may sound grandiose and dramatic—perhaps even overwhelming. Climate grief is real, and it can make folks feel hopeless. But if we act ethically and build regenerative systems, we create hope.

climate anxiety
Working within your community for support and resources can prevent you from feeling alone in your fight against climate change.

Handling Eco-Anxiety as a Gardener

As a gardener, this is one place I can really make a difference in my immediate community. Through regenerative gardening, I can create an effective, beautiful, resilient, and eco-friendly space.

Our garden spaces can produce more food and flowers, more trees and shelter for wildlife, control climates for homes and outdoor spaces, and spread joy and beauty within our neighbourhoods, all with less input from us.

The time and cost-savings alone should be attractive enough for us to want to make a regenerative garden.

The benefits of this work have a ripple effect. Each time we collect rainwater and use it to irrigate our vegetable garden, we are saving the effort of our communities and the land to purify that water and redeliver it to us.

Every time we compost our garden waste to turn it into rich fertilizer, we save the energy that is being collected by our cities, composted, and sold back to us. Every little step we can take will make a bigger difference than is immediately evident.

climate anxiety
Our garden can support local wildlife and inspire others in your neighbourhood to do similar practices.

How to Make Your Garden More Eco-Friendly

Nearly everything we do on the website can contribute to a more eco-friendly garden. I encourage you to use the search bar and look for any particular topic you’re interested in. I will most likely have information on it, and in a regenerative style.

For inspiration, here are just a few of my favourite ways you can make an immediate change in your garden:

Stop using peat moss. Switch to more sustainable growing mediums such as coconut coir, compost, rice husks, perlite, and more.
Save water. Utilize water catchment systems for supplemental water.
Practice succession planting to reduce waste and promote longer blooming seasons for wildlife.
Reconsider weeds, leaving those in a place where they might be helping to regenerate poor soil.
Switch to an eco lawn that utilizes less water and requires less maintenance.
Build a bug hotel to provide a nesting place for insects.
Leave the leaves and push leaf matter into beds and across your lawn rather than bag it.
Grow organically, omitting the use of pesticides and herbicides in your garden. Use natural pest control methods instead.
Plant native plants that can handle your local weather conditions without the need for supplemental watering/maintenance.
Start a compost bin to prevent kitchen scraps from going to the landfill.

Handful of compost
It starts from the ground up!

Like I said, these are just a few ideas to get you started. Explore and use the search bar to find many more suggestions!

More Ways to Support Mother Nature

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