Don’t let eco-anxiety stop you fighting for the planet – your voice matters

In the face of a problem that feels overwhelming, your one voice can create the change we need

Flo Headlam
Saturday 01 October 2022 14:29 BST
Prince William speaks of ‘saddest of circumstances’ in message to Earthshot Prize

The world is a beautiful place and nature is a gift that brings me awe and bewilderment in equal measure. But I am often and increasingly left feeling unsure about what tomorrow holds for the planet and us as a species.

This summer, we’ve seen heatwaves and drought beyond anything we’ve experienced before. With hosepipe bans and water bouncing off parched ground, how our beautiful planet regulates itself is altering. When I think of the future for me and the next generation, I’m scared of what might be to come.

Things that seem like they belong in a movie, like conflicts over water, are increasingly becoming a reality. In the future, will we see landlocked nations and those with seaboard trading, hoarding and fighting over access to this most basic, yet most precious, resource?

The same is true of the land. Around the world right now, millions of people are fighting to find a place to live that’s actually habitable. If not ravaged by unprecedented rainfall, hurricanes or devastating floods, then fires consume the land, pushing the boundaries of where and how people can live to the margins.

In the face of this, I feel helplessness, even fatigue, at seeing yet another disaster unfold. I say a silent prayer, thankful that it’s not happening on my doorstep. I feel selfish that, right now, I’m not as badly affected. And I feel scared for the future, knowing if things continue, no one can guarantee that what we see now on the news won’t come to our doorstep. I feel guilty that my kids can see what’s ahead and that their tomorrow could be very different from my yesterday, because of the generations that came before them.

It can all feel like too much to process, to know what to do; send money, sign petitions, write to my MP, go on marches? Can my one action make a difference? We have to believe it will. In the face of a problem that feels overwhelming, your one voice can create the change we need.

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Right now, the threats to nature and the climate seem to just keep on coming, but if we join together we can show urgency that the government can’t ignore. We can make them see the value of action – on our health, wellbeing, lives and economy. It’s either that, or our nation – and many others around the world – paying the price of their inaction.

They say every journey starts with one step, so my request from you, reading this, is to take one step. Visit Letters to Tomorrow and add your voice to thousands of people writing a letter to a loved one in the future to call for political action on climate change now. They’ll be sent to politicians, one a day, every day. So they can’t miss how the public feels and so this doesn’t drop off their to-do list.

We owe it to the next generation to ensure that the disaster movie script in front of us becomes a story with a positive ending.

Flo Headlam is a BBC Gardeners’ World presenter

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