Fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes: There are many examples of weather events that are in the news every day. Although accelerated, we can adopt winning strategies to help us ease our anxiety about these changes.
An adversary that’s in your head
Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness about the future now have a name: eco-anxiety.
In a United Nations article, psychotherapist Charline Schmerber explains that distress caused by the climate emergency can take many forms: anger, sadness, fear, guilt and helplessness. People who experience eco-anxiety are informed and understand the seriousness of the situation. They suffer from anxiety about a global issue. So they have good reason to try to make things better by any means1.
Environmental impact: One achievement at a time
Let’s address the fight against climate change in the same way.
Every small environmentally responsible action counts. It reduces your stress and builds confidence, while inspiring others to do the same. All of this builds up and makes a difference over time.
Each day, you can ask yourself questions and become aware of your choices. “What can I do that is more environmentally friendly?” Here are some examples:
- Buy food in bulk to reduce packaging
- Choose local products rather than products that have travelled long distances by ship and truck
- Shop for clothes in a thrift store instead of buying new clothing
- Live near your workplace, grocery stores and the services you need to reduce your car dependency
- Travel on foot, bike, subway or bus rather than by car
- Drive an electric or hybrid car rather than a vehicle that runs on gasoline
- Rent a tool that you rarely use rather than buy one
- Favour companies that have adopted sustainable development principles
Changing the world through your investments
When you favour investments that comply with the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), you use your money for the common good while generating returns.
For example, Desjardins’s SocieTerra Funds allow you to invest in companies that are concerned about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. You can’t predict their performance, but you can make sure your money is in products that invest in companies consistent that are consistent with your values.
Circular economy: To stop going around in circles
One way to preserve our precious resources is to consume fewer of them… and consume them more responsibly.
Business models that are more linear extract resources to transform them into something that is used and ultimately thrown away and then replaced.
Circular economy models work in “loops” to limit waste and maximize their production waste.
This reduces the environmental footprint. Here are some examples:
- Refundable aluminum cans are recovered, melted and turned into new cans. Ad infinitum.
- Grocery stores donate their overripe fruit and vegetables to other companies that use them for jam, purée and cookies.
- Social economy enterprises collect clothing, furniture and other items that are no longer used, then resell them at low prices.
- Mining companies sort the ore they extract from the ground. Rather than being discarded, the by-products of their main activity are used for other purposes.
It’s true that “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.” But it’s up to us to decide what things are transformed into. In useless waste… or something better?
Desjardins: Leader in sustainable development
Small environmental achievements rarely make the headlines, but they are real. Companies across Quebec are working to reduce their environmental footprint. This is true for Desjardins, which has continually improved its Sustainable Development Policy since 2005. This has encouraged the adoption of responsible best practices such as:
- Measure the quantity of waste and of recycled and composted materials from buildings
- Reduce paper consumption, use recycled paper and promote a “paperless” approach by offering members and clients the opportunity to view their statements and documents online
- Build energy-efficient buildings that meet strict environmental certification criteria such as LEED and BOMA Best
- Select suppliers based on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance
- Contribute to future projects such as the circular economy acceleration laboratory ecosystem - External link. This link will open in a new window. (In French only) in partnership with École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)
It’s never too late to do better. Rather than allowing eco-anxiety to overwhelm you, let it propel you toward making greener choices.