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Emotional resilience in times of the climate crisis

Imagine a world where climate change has been resolved and there is no longer a constant threat to our existence. How do you feel? Do you notice any changes? Is it may be easier to breathe? Or are your thoughts free of the weight of impending doom? This would mean that you are no longer affected by eco-emotions. Ideally, we would all want to live in such a world; however, it is a world seemingly far out of reach, at least for right now. Because of that we would like to imagine a different one. A world in which everyone is emotionally resilient to the effect of the climate crisis. A world in which we are able to recognise and express our emotions freely. A world where we can find spaces to share our eco- emotions and to connect to nature.

Our Value Creators journey started here with a shared interest in learning about the effects of the climate crisis on our mental health and well-being. We wanted to learn how to navigate the climate crisis and the distress it creates on an emotional level. Through this journey we discovered the concepts of eco-emotions and emotional resilience that put us on the path to what our Value Creators would become.

The topic of emotional resilience in times of the climate crisis is often understated, but we believe that it will become crucial as we try to navigate this changing world. It is important that we break the taboo around eco-emotions in order to reduce the feelings of isolation. We see the need for a shift in our cultural and mental models to adapt to this fast-changing world.

Throughout the semester we have gotten to connect with a lot of interesting people and networks that provided great opportunities for our journey. We began with the exploration of the IDGs and attended an IDG Gathering. We also had the chance to attend and present at a Student Psychologist Conference in Wageningen and to organise workshops for students at GPCM through Resiliency labs. These workshops made it very clear to us how much need there was for increased awareness on the topic of eco-emotions and to provide youth with the tools to strengthen their emotional resilience. To dive deeper into the topic and gain inspiration for the next steps we organised a co-creation session with our network. We continued our exploration of the topics through different experiences and areas such as outdoor coaching, ritual making in the sand dunes near Leiden and attending a climate conversation.

This journey lead us to the realisation that there is a lack of awareness about eco-emotions. Throughout our engagement with the networks in different phases, they have all verified that eco-emotions are mostly taboo in our society, and increased awareness and support is needed to mitigate a variety of negative outcomes and risks. Based on these encounters we decided to focus on that and to raise awareness by writing a positioning paper and an action matrix. With the combination of these two things, we wanted to provide an insight into the topic that would be available for a large variety of people, but also to prompt a call-to-action through detailing different focus points where change can be achieved.

To ensure an equitable representation of the different groups in our action matrix we then organised a write-shop in which our stakeholders got together to come up with a list of actions that could be taken as the first steps to creating change in the topic. We then analysed the list and summarised it all into action points that in the end make up the action matrix.

Going forward we hope that the topic develops further and that as a society we are able to recognize the effects that the climate crisis has on us to take steps in the direction of emotional resilience. We hope that there is going to be enough attention on eco-emotions in the near future so that we can start to move towards that ideal world together. For right now we aim for more opportunities for youth to address their eco-emotions and to normalize those conversations.

“Safety is not the absence of threat but the presence of connection” - Gabor Mate

In case you want to read our action matrix and positioning paper, please refer to the link below.

We hope that reading about our journey gives a bit of an insight into this topic and that you are able to realize the effects the world as we know it might have on you. We wish you all the best in your own journey and if this blogpost caught your attention and you would like to get in touch with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Otherwise, feel free to help us spread the message by sharing the two documents with friends, family, or colleagues by using the link. ☺

The team Anna Boessneck - Dayenne Deumer - Dominika Szabóová - Klara Wrusch

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