Grappling with Eco-Anxiety: A Conversation with Environmental Journalist, Candice Batista

Toronto, Canada-based environmental journalist and activist Candice Batista has been empowering people to shift their habits and live more sustainably for over 20 years. She is passionate about what she does but she can feel like she’s pushing a big rock up a steep hill.

“I’ve wanted to give up so many times…In all these years not much has changed. We’re [still] addicted to fossil fuels, plastic packaging, and plastic conveniences,” she says. “We need a complete and utter overhaul of our system.”

Personal actions like using beeswax wraps and changing your light bulbs may seem small when compared with the impact of the massive fossil fuel industry, but Batista says it’s important to remember that “one person can make a huge difference in the world in a positive way.”

Doing what we can for the environment, no matter how small, is also good for our mental health, says Batista. And it can help curb something called ‘eco-anxiety’, a growing mental health challenge among many people who are worried about the future of the planet. She herself lives a sustainable life because “it makes me feel good as a human being. I feel better.”

To manage eco-anxiety, Batista recommends spending time in nature, using breathing techniques, and practicing mindfulness. And while recycling and composting are good, the number one thing we can all do to help the planet is to “just stop consuming so much stuff”.

While Bastista continues to be frustrated by the false promises of government leaders, missed emission targets, and the world’s over-reliance on fossil fuels, she remains inspired by her community of fellow eco-activists and the younger generation. “Once they start being able to vote collectively, I think that’s when we’ll start to see change, and that gives me hope.”