Environmental Anxiety – 3 things you can do to help your kids

Anxiety comes in all forms and it doesn’t discriminate as to whom it affects. Children are not immune to anxiety and one of the leading causes of anxiety for kids today (under 18) is the environment. This post isn’t going to get into a debate on climate change. I will say two things; first the world is warmer now that’s not debatable. Second, there are more ways to obtain information now than ever before which makes things seem worse than they are.

All that out of the way it doesn’t negate the fact that children have environmental anxiety. Are they being taught that humans are polluting the world? Is it some vast liberal conspiracy to indoctrinate these kids? I don’t know but what I will say is their awareness of environmental issues is impressive. “Not in my life time” is something I might be able to say, my neighbors kid Kate who is 11? What does the world looks like in 40 years, 2061?

How do you help them now though? Isn’t that a parents most important charter? To empower their kids to be productive and thriving adults? (rhetorical of course).

  1. Start a recycling cycle: Every family accumulates trash. Types of trash vary depending on where you live but its most likely that you have accumulated plastic. Plastic can be rinsed and recycled. Make it a weekly or bi weekly task where you and your children clean the plastic and bring it to a recycle center.
  2. Read articles about climate change together: Direct engagement here, read the climate change stories with your child. Don’t read the stories to the child, read them WITH the child. This enables the child to engage YOU directly on the issue, discuss it, tell you what they think. You in turn get to tell them your point of view as well. You don’t have to agree with everything written but you are doing it together and that’s the critical point.
  3. Buy local products: Bring your child with you and purchase local products from small businesses and individuals in your area. Going to a super store near you means you are consuming products that were probably shipped via a container, then trucked in. This type of product is one of the dirties products in the world. Not the item itself but how it got to the store. Inform your child of this, tell them why you are buying local and or why they can’t have “Item X” from big store retailer, tie it into the environment.
Plastic destroys the environment
Plastic is choking the world to death

Small incremental changes where you are engaging your child directly gives them a stake or as we say in my part of the world “skin in the game” to the environment. They crave your guidance; the world is full of information now they are getting data from multiple inputs every minute of every day. The tips above give them avenues to affect positive outcomes, learn about issues and most importantly interact with you and hone in on your family’s values when it comes to environmental issues.

Remember when they are middle age adults somewhere in the 2050’s the world might be a very different place. It could be environmentally worse or better depending on the values we instill now. Even if you don’t think climate change is a major issue the tips above are all positives. Your child will appreciate it.

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Volcano’s Coming back to life

We all wanted 2021 to start off with a bang but not this kind of bang. It seems that long dormant volcanos in the Caribbean are becoming active again. This of course is a serious issue for the people living there and for science/climate/nature followers a curious event. Volcanoes are nature’s way of growing land mass, and for many of us it is abstract. Maybe we have seen a volcano on TV or in the movies but an active volcano is a force of nature that there really is no safe guard against.


From the article: “Residents of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been told to remain alert a Caribbean volcano came back to life. La Soufrière is the highest point in St. Vincent and is located near the northern tip of the country but remained dormant for decades before beginning to spew ash on Tuesday this week, AP reported.

Steam, gas, and a volcanic dome formed by lava that reached the earth’s surface could also be seen above the volcano, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

The country’s government, which consists of a chain of islands home to more than 100,000, raised the alert level to orange, meaning that eruptions could occur with less than 24 hours’ notice. La Soufrière last erupted in 1979 but did not cause any harm due to warning, while a 1902 eruption led to 1,600 deaths.”

How many more natural disasters does the Caribbean have to endure?

In recent years the Caribbean has taken a beating from hurricanes. I have spent a fair amount of time in the region on vacations and it’s sad to see such a beautiful part of the world be at risk for more natural disasters. It’s never a good thing when nature affects people negatively, for the Caribbean it’s a double hit as not only are lives at risk but for many of these islands tourism is a huge part of their economies.

If covid restrictions were enough of a strain now the threat of volcanic activity might keep even more people away. Having recovered somewhat from the horrific hurricanes of the last few years 2021 is looking like a good comeback for many of these travel destinations. Let’s hope for our friends there that mother nature cooperates.

Just a quick post to let our friends in the Caribbean know we are thinking of them.

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Pushing fear for views-Dorian

If you were in the U.S. this week you saw or heard about hurricane Dorian. This post is more of an editorial/opinion piece but it’s important to get it out there. Many in the media use fear to drive views. I know I’m not going out on a limb here, as a blogger there is always an element of “click bait” in what you do. That said the fear mongering can add to your anxiety levels. First, a hurricane should be taken seriously if its heading toward you don’t ignore it.

Second and most importantly don’t be pulled into the fear. Over and over they will play horrific scenes of damage and past disasters to emphasize the potential of this storm. This is partially to serve you as a consumer, they want to give you information. It’s also partially to scare you so that you will tune in to the next broadcast.

As a person with anxiety this can really affect you negatively. When you are hearing reports of pending doom your mind races. It’s not enough you have your other triggers to deal with but now there is a “monster” storm pending. It’s an extremely hard thing to qualify, meaning I can’t in good conscience tell you to ignore the news, but we do have to temper the news.

The best way to handle hurricanes and weather events is to watch your local news cast. They are going to use fear to drive views as well but when they get to the facts its going to be most applicable to you. If you surf the web, you’re going to see all sorts of horror stories, and they are real. Stay local, use common sense and really focus on your immediate safety.

While this wasn’t my most eloquent post, I was compelled to produce it because after being bombarded this weekend with “pending” hurricane devastation I found myself really bummed out. Remember, it’s okay to take world news to heart, its okay to have an emotional reaction but remember come back to center and focus on your LOCAL and IMMEDIATE surroundings.

If you are in this storms path be safe.  

The Climate Change debate = Anxiety for kids

I’m not going to get into a political discussion on whether climate change is real or isn’t. I am going to say that its logical to deduce that if we put to much CO2 into the atmosphere we will have negative results. I remember in the 80’s we had “holes in the ozone layer” in the 70’s we had the crying Indian commercial that talked about pollution. Generally, its my experience when you put crap into something, you get crap out. We have been treating the earth like crap for a few hundred years now, maybe its time to treat it better?

So, I found an interesting article about Climate change and how it creates stress for kids.

We have long celebrated dooms day in pop culture. From TV shows to movies, civilization as we know it ending has been a reoccurring theme. Hollywood isn’t stupid, you play on fears people want to see that, they want to be able to rationalize in their head what might happen next. Climate change, as its often depicted in the media, is a slow death. Its like a lingering cancer that eats away at you slowly. As the article points out, this is particularly troublesome for kids.

“I think another piece about climate change is that it feels much bigger than an individual. I take public transit, but I’m not getting rid of all those cars on the road that I can see outside my window. If I stop using straws, is that really going to make a difference? The kinds of actions one might take have to scale up to a larger level. That can feel overwhelming to an individual.”

So, you are an 11-year-old and you keep hearing about climate change, the adults around you talk about it, but you go home in a huge bus that guzzles gas. Your parents get a Starbucks in a disposable plastic cup, the oil delivery for your home heating oil is coming tomorrow….

You get the picture. Kids today are being bombarded with messaging that if we don’t do something we are all going to die because of climate change. The problem is, they are the ones who won’t get to really live. Let’s face it, I’m almost 50, in 50 years when the temp averages 120 and we can’t grow anything I will be long gone. What about that 11-year-old? What will their world look like? I have anxiety as it is but admittedly Climate change isn’t one of the things I think about and get anxious.

From the article: “Climate change is important. It’s important. But it’s also a lot to load up on a lot of second-graders. I’m sorry that the whole world might go kapooey?” Madeline begins. “They need to know that? You know, I think a part of the problem is, we lie to our kids. We fill their heads full of Santa Claus and stories with happy endings when most of us know most endings to most stories . . . suck, right?”

It’s important to talk about it, and to do what you can. Get kids involved now, by talking to them and engaging with them you might stave off their future anxiety.