Managing climate anxiety in the events industry

It’s mental health month, and this year's focus is on anxiety.

We’ve been considering this in the context of the climate and exploring how to manage climate anxiety in our careers and as advocates for change within the events industry.

We know that our actions impact the climate, and it’s widely accepted that pollution or increasing temperatures will have consequences for our physical health. But it’s also important to consider the daily impact that this reality has on our mental health.

Understanding Climate Anxiety

Climate anxiety is the worry, grief, fear or even frustration about the ongoing climate crisis. According to a Global Future Foundation Report, 78 per cent of people report some level of fear about climate change, and this is exacerbated by the lack of action from key decision-makers in governments and the availability of information via the media about the real-time impacts of a climate crisis. The tangibility of the effects is becoming more apparent while the solutions still appear to be daunting, unreachable and ineffective due to the sheer magnitude of the crisis, leading to states of inertia and increasing anxiety.

The Events Industry and Climate Anxiety

Working in a fast-paced industry such as the events industry is already demanding, with deadlines to adhere to and a wide range of stakeholders to manage. When you then begin to consider and take responsibility for the impact of that industry on our climate, it can be overwhelming, especially with no clear solution or roadmap for the industry. This, of course, is where isla aims to help via our temperature check report and the building of the isla and TRACE community. However, working on the front line of events and sustainability, implementing and driving change can bring up a mix of feelings, including anxiety when faced with the vastness of the task at hand.

With the rise in roles such as sustainability leads, coupled with the proximity to 2030, a key milestone for net zero goals, it’s important to consider how we can maintain a balance between our mental health, continuing to advocate for the climate, and driving the behavioural, systemic, and procedural changes that are required within each company and at every event.

Managing Work-Based Climate Anxiety

Here are some strategies to manage work-based climate anxiety effectively:

  • Celebrate Progress: Regularly share and celebrate your wins with your team. Acknowledging progress can provide motivation and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Focus on Control: Concentrate on the aspects of your work that you can control. This will help mitigate feelings of helplessness and increase a sense of agency.
  • Align Ambitions: Work with clients and suppliers who share your climate ambitions. This alignment can create a supportive network and amplify your efforts.
  • Collaborate: Share responsibility and create a culture of collaboration within your team and across the industry. Working together can lead to more effective and sustainable outcomes.
  • Digital Detox: Take regular breaks from social media and news to avoid being overwhelmed by the constant stream of negative information.
  • Take Action: Turn your anxiety into action. Engage in activities and projects that contribute to positive change.

A Positive Perspective

Feelings of climate anxiety come from care and love for our planet and for the people around us, future generations, and those living in areas first at risk. It’s a normal response to a significant challenge. By implementing these strategies, we can manage our anxiety and continue to advocate for the necessary changes in our industry and beyond.

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