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Yes, you can turn your climate anxiety into meaningful action

This week we talk with LaUra Schmidt, cofounder of The Good Grief Network. LaUra talks about how millions of us are suffering from eco-anxiety, how our emotions affect our planet-saving work, and how we can cope so we can do the work that needs to be done to make a positive impact on the future.

LaUra Schmidt co-founded the non-profit Good Grief Network in 2016 with her wife, Aimee Lewis-Reau, to provide a space to help people cope with climate anxiety. Passionate about saving endangered species and panic-stricken about the climate emergency, LaUra had been suffering from her own feelings of climate grief and impotence. A childhood trauma survivor, LaUra had found solace in Adult Children of Alcoholics. So she took that group’s 12-step model (an offshoot of AA) and developed a 10-step program for others like her. Today, it’s helped more than 2,500 climate anxiety sufferers from more than 14 countries—and growing.  

Schmidt describes the despair of climate anxiety as “when we wake up to how severe the climate crisis is, paralleled with our social injustice issues… our ecosite issues and our habitat destruction issues.” That wake-up call can make anyone question themselves, she says: “It really takes on a personal blend of, ‘ What can I possibly do?’” 

The Good Grief Network arrived right on time. A recent study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that of 10,000 young people, ages 16 to 25, in 10 countries, 84% are worried about the climate. 

  • The same study found more than 50% feel sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless and guilty about climate change.
  • Forty-five percent said climate anxiety was affecting their ability to function in daily life.

The authors wrote that this stress threatens the health and well-being of young people and there is an “urgent need” for an increase in research and governmental response to this critical issue.  

Since its founding, The Good Grief Network has served more than 2,500 participants in more than 14 countries. Schmidt, who describes herself as a “truth-seeker, cultural critic, grief-worker, and the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor” hopes to help others around the world develop the resiliency and skill set to create change.

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