Let’s Talk About Eco-anxiety – part of Manchester Science Festival 2021

Creative Tourist

20 February 2021 Entrance is free — Visit now

Climate change is an issue at the forefront of many young people’s minds, but what is “eco-anxiety” and how does the urgent issue of environmental responsibility affect young people and their mental health? The audience is invited to explore this contemporary topic in an interactive and important discussion with a panel that includes experts, environmentalists and young entrepreneurs.

“Eco-anxiety” refers to a fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster based on the current and predicted future state of the environment and human-induced climate change.

Manchester declared a climate emergency in July 2019 and announced its aim to become a zero-carbon city by 2038 or before – at least 12 years earlier than the national 2050 target. Confronted by headlines like this and reports of extreme weather events in our own region, such as the recent flooding in South Manchester, growing concern about the future of our planet can be overwhelming and can lead to feelings of helplessness, frustration and eco-anxiety.

Coined by the Australian philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2005, “eco-anxiety” refers to a fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster based on the current and predicted future state of the environment and human-induced climate change, and the existential pain experienced when the place where one resides is subject to environmental degradation. Other terms include “climate grief”, to refer to a wider loss and anxiety related to the overall effects of climate change, “solastalgia”, homesickness because of environmental changes, and “terrafurie”, rage because of mindless destruction of nature, also used by Albrecht.

Psychotherapist and lecturer at the University of Bath, researching Climate Change Psychology, Caroline Hickman joins this interactive event, curated by the Manchester Science Festival Young People Panel members Ella, Mahala, Molly, Nayan, Phoebe and Tom. She has discussed the phenomenon previously: “Eco-anxiety as a term is growing both in usage, and in the number of people recognising it in themselves. [It] is not a mental health problem that needs to be fixed or cured, rather it is a healthy response to the situation we are facing.” It is a kind of coping mechanism, she says, “an awareness of the reality of the situation that we face”.

Caroline will be joined by Newsround presenter Martin Dougan and Mya Rose-Craig, also known as Birdgirl, an activist, environmentalist and campaigner for equal rights, who founded non-profit organisation Black2Nature to run nature camps for black and minority ethnic children. The event is chaired by Nile Henry, founder and CEO of The Blair Project, a disruptive social enterprise that exists to inspire the next generation of green tech workforce through electric karting and digital manufacturing and design project-based activities.

Let’s Talk About Eco-anxiety is suitable for ages 14 and older.

Part of Manchester Science Festival 2021.

20 February 2021 Entrance is free Visit now

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