Eco-anxiety is being increasingly felt amongst Australians, with many concerned about the environment and the influence of climate change on catastrophic events like the recent bushfires.
The summer of 2019/2020 has seen at least 7.7 million hectares of land across New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia destroyed by fire, with around five million hectares of that being in New South Wales alone.
Searing temperatures and seasonal bushfires are not uncommon in Australia. However, the catastrophic scale of recent bushfires and rise in extreme weather events are giving people a pause for thought – and increasingly provoking fear and consideration of the potential threat for generations to come.
EKAS research has shown that more and more Australians are conscious of threats to the environment, and are recognising that the recent bushfire crisis is unlikely to be part of the natural climate cycle.
According to psychologist and researcher at the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, Mel Taylor, eco-anxiety is climbing rapidly.
In particular, there is fear and unease around the long-term effect on the environment. For fire-affected Australians, both residents evacuating homes and volunteer firefighters putting their lives on the line, dealing with trauma and tragedy is seriously impacting their mental wellbeing.
It is also taking a toll on a wider scale, with many Australians anxious about their health after enduring weeks of thick smoke.
So what is eco-anxiety and how can people take action to cope with it better? You can read more here.