Choose your settings
Choose your language
Health and wellness

Solutions to ease eco-anxiety

April 3, 2024

Fires, floods, droughts, hurricanes: These are just some of the kinds of weather events we seem to be hearing about more and more on the news. It can be worrying to see how quickly changes like these are happening. Fortunately, there are things we can do to help ease our anxiety.

An opponent that gets under your skin

If you experience feelings of hopelessness and helplessness about the future, there's a name for this: eco-anxiety.

In a United Nations article, psychotherapist Charline Schmerber explains that distress caused by the climate emergency can take many forms, such as anger, sadness, fear, guilt and helplessness. If you have eco-anxiety, you're likely more sensitive to the climate issue and feel more affected by it, as you understand the severity of the situation. This is anxiety about a global issue. It's only natural for you to try to make things better, in any way you can.1

Tips for easing eco-anxiety

Don't consume too much information at once. Finding out more about climate change should be something that inspires you rather than feeding your anxiety. It's all right to take a step back if you need to.

Immerse yourself in nature. Go to the park, take a walk in the forest or stroll down by the water. Little things like this can help remind you that we're all part of something bigger than ourselves.

Connect with other people. Because you can accomplish great things when you work as a team. Collaboration and cooperation are the name of the game if you want to be part of the solution.

Don't feel guilty. Do what you can and don't worry about what you can't control.

Environmental impact: One achievement at a time

Let's tackle climate action the same way.

Every eco-friendly action counts. Everything you do to help the environment can reduce your stress and build your confidence, while inspiring others to do the same. All of this has a cumulative effect and makes a difference over time.

Each day, you can ask yourself questions and be more 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 overseas or by road.
  • 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 SocieTerra Funds allow you to invest in companies that are concerned about environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Learn more about responsible investment

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.

Doing more

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 people no longer need, then resell them at low prices.
  • Mining companies sort the ore they extract from the ground. Rather than discarding the by-products of their main activity, they use them for other purposes.

Desjardins's vision for a sustainable future

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. Instead of throwing away the things we think are useless waste, is there a way to repurpose them?

Small environmental achievements rarely make the headlines, but they're real. Businesses nationwide are working to reduce their environmental footprint. And Desjardins is one of them. We've continually improved our Sustainable Development Policy since 2005. This has led us to embrace responsible best practices that include:

  • Measuring the quantity of waste and of recycled and composted materials from buildings.
  • Reducing paper consumption, using recycled paper and promoting a Paper-Free option by offering members and clients the opportunity to view their statements and documents online.
  • Building energy-efficient buildings that meet strict environmental certification criteria such as LEED and BOMA BEST.
  • Selecting suppliers based on their environmental, social and governance performance.
  • Contributing to future projects such as the circular economy acceleration laboratory ecosystem with the École de technologie supérieure (article in French only).

It's never too late to do better. Rather than allowing eco-anxiety to overwhelm you, let it propel you toward making greener choices.

1. (in French only)

Desjardins®, trademarks containing the word Desjardins, and their related logos, as well as the SocieTerra® brand, are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.

Desjardins Funds are not guaranteed, their value fluctuates frequently and their past performance is not indicative of their future returns. The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns as at the date of this document including changes in securities value and reinvestment of all distributions and do not consider sales, redemption, distribution or other optional charges, or income taxes payable by any security holder that would have reduced returns. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Desjardins Funds are offered by registered dealers.