Eco Comment – Eco-Grief

23 June 2023


I heard a term this week that had somehow passed me by: Eco-Grief, or Eco-Anxiety.

It featured on the BBC Woman’s Hour where Jen Newall from the Climate Majority Project and Judy Ling Wong CBE, president of the Black Environment Network discussed the feelings that many people are experiencing. This is described as ‘an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and doom due to the current climate situation’. The programme looked at the impact this is having and how can we turn the tables and help people to feel more hopeful about the environment.

Then, quite coincidentally, Garth Wilkinson (Environment – Diocese of Leeds) forwarded a Facebook post by Katharine Hayhoe about the wildfires raging across Canada and the feelings of ‘existential dread just from seeing the images of the smoke-filled orange skies’. She then refers to psychologist Renee Lertsman whose work is about understanding the emotional impact of the global climate crisis, and how to turn climate anxiety into action. What I found interesting is that she says this is not done by motivating people to care, but by listening and guiding them towards action. We should be starting conversations, asking questions and listening.

This made me wonder if we as Christians suffer from similar feelings and emotions. Could it be that because we can have conversations with each other and with God through prayer that we have a release from the angst that the strong language used by the media can create? Or do we just ‘get on with it’, knowing that we as a community can show strength by acting together?

Susan Morgan
Eco Group

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