Climate Emotions: How climate change affects mental health
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Climate change provokes strong emotional reactions. Those responses will shape how we face this environmental challenge (Credit: BBC/Getty Images)
From fear and anxiety to hope and healing – a series examining our complex responses to climate change, and how those responses will shape how we act.

There is an aspect of climate change that many of us have been neglecting. Even if you read the news on the myriad ways that climate breakdown has already changed weather patterns, damaged livelihoods and contributed to extinctions, you might have missed it.

It’s our emotional response to climate change. For people whose lives are already changing for the worse, climate change takes a heavy mental toll. Even for those much more protected from the immediate effects – typically in rich, developed nations – there are reports of growing numbers of people seeking treatment for climate anxiety.

At first, this might seem a little indulgent. “The world is burning, and you want to talk about feelings?” some may ask.

But as this new BBC Future series explores, the two sides – our emotional responses to climate change and action to stop it – go hand in hand. By dismissing one, it’s hard to grasp the other.

In Climate Emotions, we hear from writers who have experienced a range of responses. They ask whether there are ways to heal the negative emotions and mental health challenges that can accompany climate breakdown.

The good news, they report, is that there are ways to alleviate such feelings. Often the solutions involve ramping up one’s own efforts to mitigate climate change.

Bookmark this page and check back to read BBC Future’s writers address the spectrum of emotional responses to the climate crisis.

How flight shame is changing travel

The harm from worrying about climate change

The wild places that help heal climate burnout

Is it wrong to be hopeful about climate change?

How we mourn a changing planet

Why we feel lonely in the face of a crisis

Climate Emotions is curated and edited by Martha Henriques. She is @Martha_Rosamund on Twitter. What has been your response to climate change? Let us know via the social links below.

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