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Where Parents Can Get Help with Climate Anxiety

The other day, I sat across from a friend who had just had a baby. She’d spent the weekend doomscrolling through social media posts and updates about COP26 . “I am terrified thinking about the world I brought a kid into,” she told me. “Am I the only person this freaked out?”I didn’t know what to tell her to make her feel better—climate change is terrifying and overwhelming and anyone with a kid knows this acutely—but I did know this: She is not alone. A March 2021 study by the Yale Program on Climate Communications shows that 71 percent of Americans think global warming will harm future generations. Google searches for climate anxiety have increased dramatically over the past year.

Whereas even a few years ago, talking about your “eco anxiety” might have been met with blank stares, there are now dozens of incredible books, videos, Facebook groups, and in-person events to help people come to terms with the future. Here are some of the best resources to help parents grapple with their climate fears .

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Parenting in a Changing Climate: Tools for cultivating resilience, taking action, and practicing hope in the face of climate change, by Elizabeth Bechard

A blend of memoir, science, psychology, and practical tools, this book has become my go-to recommendation every time a parent tells me they’re struggling with climate anxiety. Bechard says she wrote the book to be a “gentle bridge” for parents. It does a skillful job of acknowledging the paralyzing fear and uncertainty of the future while offering powerful research-backed practices to help people become more resilient. Her description of her own experience with eco distress while caring for small children is particularly vivid. Anyone who has been through something similar will find themselves nodding along.

Warmth: Coming of Age at the End of Our World, by Daniel SherrellWritten as a letter to an unborn child, Warmth steers clear of the sometimes hard-to-read science and data of climate change and sticks to the emotions. Sherrell is a climate activist who is grappling with the decision of whether to have a child, and his anguish and uncertainty comes through on every page, along with vivid and concrete fears for the future. “What I’ve tried to do with this book is figure out how I can live and keep taking steps forward on that tightrope between blind optimism and deflating despair,” Sherrell said. He succeeds at that, and the end result is a book that reads like a long conversation with a very thoughtful friend.The Parents’ Guide to Climate Revolution: 100 Ways to Build a Fossil-Free Future, Raise Empowered Kids, and Still Get a Good Night’s Sleep, by Mary DeMockerThe first sentence of this book begins with the word “Relax.” DeMocker then promises you that she’s not just going to overwhelm you with yet another thing to add to your already full to-do list. When I spoke with DeMocker, she told me she encourages parents to not just try to do or say the perfect thing, but instead “adopt a parenting style of empowerment and listening and believing young people’s feelings.” For parents who are eager to spring into action but don’t want to waste time on futile lightbulb-changing tasks, DeMocker provides a well-researched, creative, and inspiring list of ways you can fight for your kid’s future. While the book is more focused on action and less on emotional processing, it doesn’t leave that part out entirely. The section called “Care For Your Soul” will be particularly helpful for anyone deep in climate grief.