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Why Cancel Culture on College Campuses Is Destructive-The Complete Guide

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For the past 5-6 years, social media has been an integral part of our lives. Through social media, we are able to keep in touch with friends and family, share content, and reach larger audiences much faster. However, as easy as it is to express our opinions on social media, it is just as easy for these opinions to be shamed and criticized on these platforms. 

As a result of posting in the midst of such a judgmental culture, online public shaming has been rising. This idea is known as “cancel culture” and is prevalent on most college campuses in the United States.

While it is important to call out people whose rhetoric is harmful towards others (especially celebrities who profit off of their actions), cancel culture can be extremely destructive when brought to college campuses. Here are four reasons why cancel culture on college campuses is destructive.

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1. Leaves no room for growth

This is arguably one of the most detrimental effects of cancel culture. By “canceling” a person for tweeting an ignorant remark, it also cancels the opportunity for an individual to learn and grow from their mistakes. But how could they not know what they said was wrong? Isn’t that just common sense? No.

Many college students often forget that not everyone received the same kind of education as they did and that we all grew up in different backgrounds.

For example: A queer BIPOC woman, who grew up in California, a predominantly blue state, has personal experience with the struggles and microaggressions queer women and BIPOcs face.

Additionally, she has grown up in a more liberal environment making it easier for her to understand the liberal environment of a college campus. However, a straight, white,  cis-gendered man growing up in rural Pennsylvania, a fairly homogeneous area in a red-swinging state, may not be able to understand the daily microaggressions that POCs face.

This is because he has most likely never been exposed to that environment. Therefore, if this man posts a tweet stating that he does not understand “what the big deal is” if a POC is asked, “Where are you really from?”, people should take it as an opportunity to educate him instead of “canceling” him for not being able to understand.

“If we completely cut people down every time they make a mistake or have a mistake from ten years ago, people are gonna feel like there’s no value in learning or progressing whatsoever because you are punished forever for the sins you no longer stand by,” stated Good Place actress, Jameela Jamil, when discussing the negative effects of cancel culture on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

“Ten years ago, I was problematic in my thinking, and there were loads of things I didn’t know and didn’t understand. Had I been canceled at that moment, I would have never gone on to spend all my time fighting for women’s rights or fighting for the people, who are marginalized.”

By canceling someone, you are leaving no room for them to grow from their actions or learn more. You are not only taking away their platform but also, their ability to learn from their actions.

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2. Feeds into a herd mentality

A large part of cancel culture is the herd mentality behind the process. As in many situations that involve large-scale decision-making, people often tend to go along with things due to the fact that “everyone is doing it.”

This mentality is also responsible for the immense popularity of certain fashion trends or songs. However, in the context of cancel culture, it has detrimental consequences.

“When cancel culture is enforced, it encourages everyone to gang up against one person just because everyone else is, and sometimes, without knowing the full story,”  described a student of the historically women’s college, Bryn Mawr.

“Our school is especially small and tight-knit so things like these run rampant very quickly. Information can easily be distorted with no question. I have seen this before where people will ‘cancel’ someone just because other people have, but they don’t actually know the background story or anything.” 

Small liberal arts college campuses like Bryn Mawr College are not the only places where this herd-like mentality exists.

“There was this kid in my year and nasty rumors about him started floating around and everyone took that story as truth at face value and started ‘canceling’ him without even knowing, or meeting him, myself included,” stated a student from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

“One of my good friends had become really close to him, so I met him as well. One day he opened up to me and told me his side of the story, which was completely different and made it seem like he was the actual victim.  [The fact that] he went through a second ordeal over canceling despite supposedly being the victim in the first place was saddening.”

The student describes how to this day they do not know exactly who was in the right or wrong, but emphasizes that “we never really know people and should not try to assert ourselves or make such strong judgments on their character with limited information.”

3. Does not promote tolerance

The definition of being liberal is to be open to new behavior and try and understand the viewpoints of others. College campuses are considered to be hubs of primarily liberal/ progressive thinking.

While it is great that places of education promote progress and non-traditional thinking, it often leads the student body to dismiss and ostracize individuals who are more conservative-leaning.

It feeds the “my way or the highway” mentality that fuels cancel culture. This mentality disregards the need for discussion and respect towards everyone’s beliefs.

While there are certain things that are morally incorrect on every front (i.e. sexual assault, homicide, genocide), it is not correct to shut down a person’s opinion simply because it does not match with yours.


An example of this occurred at Bryn Mawr College during the 2016 election. Andi Moritz, an 18-year-old freshman at the time, had asked on a Facebook group if anyone would like to share an Uber to a nearby Trump rally.

Bryn Mawr, being a primarily liberal-leaning school, did not take well to this post, leading to a flood of negative comments and name-calling such as “white supremacist” and “bigot”.

These comments caused her extreme emotional distress. Moritz described how she used the Suicide Hotline and emailed her teachers that she was not feeling well and would not be in class the next day. Mortiz eventually ended up leaving Bryn Mawr the next year.

“In this big bubble of people who will echo your opinion, you can throw something out there and if it’s a liberal opinion, you’ve got a ton of people who jump on and say: ‘Wow, you’re right, I agree with you.’ This is a big problem” stated Moritz.

In order for problems to truly go away, we must try to understand another’s perspective instead of “canceling” them. Trump may be an extremely controversial figure, but it is our responsibility to facilitate discussion and make sure we fully understand people’s viewpoints and intentions before publicly shaming them. 

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4. Creates animosity and escalated situations

Oftentimes, cancel culture can create extreme animosity within communities and escalate situations beyond repair. On March 4th, Micheal Carducci from the group, ‘Coming Out’ Ministries, was invited to speak at Bryn Mawr College by a student club. The event was marketed by the club as a healthy conversation about love, sexuality, and the church.

After attending the event, many students felt as if the speaker was encouraging conversion therapy, or the idea of “converting” a person in the LGBTQ+ community to a “straight” person.

The students of Bryn Mawr took it upon themselves to address the situation by expressing their grievances towards the student who invited the speaker. However, many of these comments turned into vicious comments.

Shortly after this situation occurred, Bryn Mawr’s Dean of the Undergraduate College sent out a statement to the student body saying that the speaker’s message was against the values Bryn Mawr held as an institution, but she “urges all students to be mindful of their rhetoric and how they are using social media” and that “all forms of harassment and bullying violate the Honor Code and the values of Bryn Mawr College.”

In order to preserve the anonymity of the student who invited the speaker, their name and any personal details will not be mentioned. However, Jess Chen, a recent Bryn Mawr alum and friend of the student, was willing to give a statement on the event.

Chen described how many of the people posting comments on social media did not take into account the background and cultural upbringing of the student organizing the event. She also mentioned how many people did not accept the student’s attempt to apologize.

“If you’re angry about the concept, you can be angry at the concept, but when you start attacking a student for inviting someone as a part of an event I think that gets a little ridiculous. The cyberbullying should not escape to the point where she is not safe to go to class,” stated Chen.

Upon doing deeper research on ‘Coming Out Ministries,’ it seems that the organization may encourage some problematic rhetoric. The website links videos such as Lesbian Christian Changes Her Mind, that urge members of the LGBTQIA+ community to abandon and suppress their identities.

The Bryn Mawr student body had a right to feel hurt, but not to cyberbully or personally attack the student organizer. Those who felt hurt could have facilitated an open discussion that made an effort to understand the multiple perspectives on the issue. 

But they said something very hurtful!  How can we just stand by and continue to do nothing? 

The idea behind cancel culture is not toxic in and of itself. Cancel culture was used to prevent celebrities and public figures, who endorsed hateful ideas such as racism, sexism, and homophobia from making profiting off the public.

However, it has morphed into something problematic. People have taken cancel culture to an extreme by applying it to normal people, who are not profiting off of the general public, and are thereby not taking on the responsibilities of a public figure.

Therefore, cancel culture on college campuses should switch to “call out” culture. Call-out culture is respectfully pointing out someone’s misunderstanding, explaining why their words might be hurtful, and giving them an opportunity to rethink their actions and words. Most importantly, it entails others listening to their response and apology. 

“Cancelling means De-Platforming someone and calling for their job and position of power to be taken away; often for the foreseeable future. I rarely support cancellation unless the person/ company, has done irrevocable harm or hurts more people than they help, or refuses to shift on their dangerous/bigoted views, and behavior” stated Jamil in response to the difference between cancel and call-out culture. 

Ultimately, the root of an issue does not go away simply by canceling someone. “I don’t think anyone was ever officially canceled, otherwise certain people wouldn’t have Grammys, wouldn’t have Oscars.

Certain people wouldn’t be where they are in their positions,” stated Demi Lovato, someone, who has been canceled many times before on an episode of Jameela Jamil’s Podcast, “I Weigh.” 

In order to make a significant change, it has to be slow, persistent change. It has to come from a place of understanding. Individuals must recognize that canceling does not make the problem go away, but causes it to resurface in another form.

“People seem to think that if our trauma lies in one person and if we cancel one person, then that is easier than actually addressing systemically how this issue is dealt with on-campus,” stated Jess Chen.

“[They] feel some sort of comfort in isolating the issue.” The world is not just black and white. There will always be ambiguity and multiple perspectives on an issue.

Canceling should only be used as a last resort when a person refuses to learn and acknowledge their mistake as something hurtful. It is the societal duty of our generation to promote call-out culture and “cancel” cancel culture.

How We Got Here

Social media’s influence has exploded over the past decade, and in that rapid growth, the current trend of cancel culture has started. Popular among a young and liberal generation, cancel culture is seen as a way to “weed out” people who are potentially harmful.

As more and more people use social media and its rapid-fire speed of spreading information, they popularize the practice of canceling, the concept of receipts (often screenshots of chat logs), and the need to be “woke”.

Cancel culture began from a desire to keep online communities safe. Therefore, “cancellations” are mostly to point out homophobic, racist, or sexist behavior.

The purpose is to inform one’s followers or audience about potentially dangerous people, particularly celebrities and other notable figures who have a substantial impact on the general public.

How did cancel culture become the problem that it is today? Much of the issue is the need for moral purity and lack of critical thinking— both of which are exacerbated when it comes to the masses.

People are applying cancel culture to normal people, who are not profiting off the general public in the way a celebrity or politician does. It is easier to call someone out and cancel them than it is to educate and hold a meaningful discourse.

Because cancel culture feeds into itself and affirms its own rigid beliefs, it has become less of a means to keep people safe, and more of a way to perform “wokeness”. People are more concerned with being right than being good, but it is possible to be both.

How We Move Forward

But they said something very hurtful!  How can we just stand by and continue to do nothing? 

While it is important to keep people accountable and spaces safe, it is equally important to maintain critical thinking and keep an empathetic heart. Weigh the crime and the punishment.

The use of slurs or racist rhetoric, for example, is worth far more weight than an awkward question about sex and gender. One deserves a rightful backlash, while the other is easily remedied with education.

Therefore, cancel culture on college campuses should switch to “callout” culture. Callout culture is respectfully pointing out someone’s misunderstanding, explaining why their words might be hurtful, and giving them an opportunity to rethink their actions and words.

Most importantly, it entails others listening to their response and apology. “Cancelling means de-platforming someone and calling for their job and position of power to be taken away; often for the foreseeable future.

I rarely support cancellation unless the person or company has done irrevocable harm or hurts more people than they help, or refuses to shift on their dangerous/bigoted views, and behavior,” stated Jamil, in response to the difference between cancel and callout culture. 

Ultimately, the root of an issue does not go away simply by canceling someone. “I don’t think anyone was ever officially cancelled, otherwise certain people wouldn’t have Grammys, wouldn’t have Oscars… certain people wouldn’t be where they are in their positions,” stated Demi Lovato on an episode of Jameela Jamil’s Podcast, I Weigh.  Lovato herself has been “cancelled” many times. 

In order to make a significant change, it has to be slow, persistent change. It has to come from a place of understanding. Individuals must recognize that canceling does not make the problem go away, but causes it to resurface in another form.

“People seem to think that if our trauma lies in one person and if we cancel one person, then that is easier than actually addressing systemically how this issue is dealt with on-campus,” stated Jess Chen. “[They] feel some sort of comfort in isolating the issue.” 

The world is not just black and white. There will always be ambiguity and multiple perspectives on an issue. Canceling should only be used as a last resort when a person refuses to learn and acknowledge their mistake as something hurtful. It is the societal duty of our generation to promote callout culture and “cancel” cancel culture. 

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College Voices

5 Unique Tips for a Fresh Start in 2021

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As the pandemic looms on and remote working continues, it feels increasingly difficult to find new and better ways to start fresh in the new year. Especially at home, your immediate thoughts might jump to the towering pile of boxes in your garage or the mysterious mold that’s been growing in your shower. Of course, the ongoing pandemic has caused a worldwide case of stress-based quarantine clutter, and it’s definitely important to set aside a day (or three) to clean out that accumulated mess. 

At the same time, however, while cleaning out your physical space has been proven to improve your mental health, there exist many other methods to help clear your mind and start this year with a renewed outlook. 

Here are 5 unique tips for a fresh start in 2021

Tip #1: Mindful Eating 

Before the pandemic, when we were all rushing to our next class, to an appointment or to work, eating might have felt like an automatic or even tedious act. Now, researchers are noting the effects of the “Quarantine 15”, the weight gain many people are facing as a result of the stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic. 

As we spend another year at home, you should skip the fad diets this year and instead opt for the kinder, more attentive realm of mindful eating. Grounded in the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, mindful eating consists of a variety of ways in which you can strive to be more observant of how, when, and why you eat. 

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Whether it’s eating slower or recognizing the distinct taste of your food, you can learn to slow down and grow a greater sense of appreciation for not only the food you eat, but also the ritual of eating. This doesn’t mean that you need to give up your morning coffee or stop munching on your favorite brand of chips. Mindful eating instead encourages you to pause for a moment, really taste your coffee or chips, enjoy it, and continue on your day. By paying attention to how we eat, we can all learn to focus more on these little moments and find a grander purpose in them. 

Tip #2: Move Your Body 

In addition to mindful eating, it’s just as important to be mindful of your body and find ways to exercise it! From starting a rigorous at-home workout to performing desk exercises, below are a few fresh ways to get your blood pumping.

  1. Workout Routine 

Searching for workouts of which there are a plethora of possibilities. Including glute bridges, sumo squats, and plenty more, the article introduces all the ways you can start an easy, active routine. 

  1. Yoga 

It’s been proven how much yoga has done to relieve pandemic stress and anxiety. Its principles are also founded on philosophies similar to the Buddhist mindfulness mentioned above, so combining yoga routines with mindful eating is sure to prepare your mind and body for the new year. Though in-person yoga studios are closed for now, many are currently hosting free video classes, specifically aimed at relieving pandemic struggles. So roll out your yoga mats or find a comfortable, flat surface, and get your yoga game on! 

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  1. Desk Exercises 

Is starting a full-out workout or yoga routine too much of a commitment? No worries, there’s a reason why gym membership attendance drops significantly into the new year. Since you’re at your desk, try these quick and easy desk exercises during class or work breaks. You can stretch out your wrists to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or, if you have a swivel chair, work out your abs by turning your chair left and right!

Tip #3: Clear Your Mind for a fresh start 

With social media piling up on hundreds of the latest news stories, it’s difficult to find space for yourself, even in your own mind. For a fresh start to the new year, pull out that notebook or journal that’s been hiding on your bookshelf, and journal it out! Not only can journaling help to improve your mental health, taking the time to write can allow space for you to critically reflect on this past year. What did you learn in 2020? What have you been struggling with? What dreams do you have for the new year? Writing it all down can help you untangle all of the complicated emotions that you may have been struggling with, and enter the new year with a fresher, more positive outlook. 

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Tip #4: Purposeful Content Consumption 

We are all definitely guilty of binging two seasons of a Netflix show or diving into an endless Internet rabbit hole. Purposeful content consumption works along the same lines of mindful eating by learning to pay more attention to what content we are watching, reading, or listening to. As we enter the new year, strive to diversify the media or content that you usually watch without a second thought. It is known that the Internet, and social media specifically, has been prone to causing political and social polarization, or in simpler terms, consuming only certain kinds of content can lead you to think a certain way (i.e. watching only cat videos and none of the amazing dog videos could lead you to believe that dogs are really not that great). So push yourself to learn about the other sides, and maybe you can develop some empathy along the way!

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Tip #5: Reach Out & Remind Others That You Care 

Start fresh in all of your friendships and relationships by making it an active goal to be more attentive to all the people you care about in your life. 2020 was the year when we learned to be more grateful for our loved ones, so put it into action! Send a message to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or call your mom and ask about her day. By making it a habit to consistently check in with others, we solidify our relationships with them as well. After all, humans are social creatures, and research has shown that social connections are key to our well-being! 

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While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the ways you can enter 2021 new and improved, these tips are sure to help in redirecting your perspective of how you can change things up. Whether it’s practicing mindfulness or starting little desk exercises, continue to be gentle and kind with yourself and all your new year’s resolutions. We’re still in the midst of a pandemic, after all, and it’s just as important to take a day or two off for some self-care and self-love!

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College Voices

5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions in 2021

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The year 2020 is finally over, and we have a new year to look forward to! After living ten years in the course of one, you’re ready for the next phase. If you’re anything like the majority of the world’s population, you’ve made New Year’s resolutions in the past—and broken them within a month. But you keep making them, because you enjoy the optimism: beginning a new year on the right foot, promising to be a better, more fit and a more skilled version of yourself. 

Here are ways you can stick to your New Year’s Resolutions in 2021

  1. Tell people about your resolution

Usually, we’re told that peer pressure is a bad thing. But in the case of a New Years’ Resolution, it might be just what you need. Positive reinforcement (encouragement and support) from your friends and family can push you to learn the guitar, lose the beer belly, or whatever it is you want to do in this new year. Disappointment (or the fear of it) can also push you to work harder toward your goal. If the cost of failing on your resolution is a whole bunch of awkward and sad conversations, maybe that’ll keep you on the straight and narrow.

  1. Break it down into manageable chunks

This is something essentially everybody tells you about anything, but it’s true. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—and continues, step by step. A New Years’ Resolution isn’t accomplished all at once, but rather gradually. Don’t push yourself too hard, and don’t get down on yourself if your goal is still a long way off. Set realistic markers along the way, and at each one check in with yourself. That way, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment as you go, and you’ll see your progress stack up.

  1. Care for yourself

Treat your New Year’s Resolution as what it is: a gift. When you accomplish it, not only will you get the benefit of whatever your goal is, but you’ll feel more confidence and pride in yourself. This feeling of accomplishment is full of benefits: it makes you better poised to chase down the next opportunity, better prepared to be a positive influence in the lives of others, and can even make you live longer. In making a New Years’ Resolution, and caring about yourself, you’re giving the best present you can give yourself, so don’t think of it as correcting something that’s wrong about you, but giving yourself another thing that’s right about you.

  1. Forgive yourself, don’t define yourself 

When a friend who’s made a mistake comes to you for help, do you immediately tell them that they’re worthless, that everybody knows it, and that they should just give up already? No, but this treatment is something of the norm when it comes to yourself. Unfortunately, many of us treat ourselves this way; we are quick to criticize and slow to forgive. Strangely enough, this negative self-talk often gives us permission to betray our resolutions. 

If you resolve, in 2021, to cut down on carbs and one night you give in to the urge to order a bunch of pasta on Postmates, don’t beat yourself up for it the next morning. Accept the mistake and continue working toward your goal the next day. Don’t decide you’re undisciplined, gluttonous, and have failed. Everyone messes up a few times and forgiveness is the best way to move forward. 

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  1. Use your resolution as a chance to explore new horizons 

We all have ideas about who we’d like to be, and we all face the realities of who we are. While a person who wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and works out in order to get a clean, fresh start to the day is certainly admirable, that person might not be you. In making resolutions, pick goals that flow organically from who you are. If you don’t know who you are (because who really does?) then go into a resolution with flexibility. 

If, for example, your resolution is to get fit, don’t force yourself into a box with it. Instead, try different exercises, intensities, and intervals. Don’t stick yourself in the gym for a 45-minute routine with weights when what you’d really enjoy doing is going to a yoga class or going for a run. Realize that everybody is different, and rather than changing yourself into somebody new, your resolution can be a way of discovering who you might already be. Think of it as an exploration. Let things develop, and commit to remaining open and focused.

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Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions — a good role model
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The year, 2021 will likely be another challenging year. You already know why, so there’s no reason to repeat it here. But remember that you got through 2020, and if your resolution for 2021 is to just survive it sane, healthy, and maybe a little wiser—that’s totally fine. It’ll take some doing, but you’re definitely further along than you think you are. 

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College Voices

The Overwhelming Mental Health Impact of Climate Change

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People across the globe are being affected by climate change. Global warming and climate change are having detrimental effects on the Earth such as increased flooding, hotter temperatures, wildfires, and droughts. Wildlife and ecosystems are being destroyed. Sea levels are rising. The list goes on and it can be overwhelming to take in the effects of climate change. This is why mental health is being greatly affected by climate change, particularly in teenagers and college students.

Climate Anxiety

Anxiety related to the global climate and fear of environmental doom is often referred to as eco-anxiety or climate anxiety. This anxiety is a legitimate reaction to a serious problem. A large population of Generation Z is burdened by climate anxiety. This is because they are concerned about their futures considering the state of the Earth and the fatal implications of climate change. 

A contributing factor to climate anxiety is the lack of action currently being taken by political leaders. Many leaders in positions of power are avoiding climate issues rather than solving them. This has prompted members of younger generations to step up and fight for change. Young activists like Greta Thunberg have taken the lead in protesting climate injustices. But watching older generations sit back while climate change is destroying the planet can lead to feelings of frustration and anger, which are common symptoms of climate anxiety.

The mental health effect of climate change
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Climate change can be a controversial topic and there is a fair amount of conflict surrounding it. Everyone reacts differently to the topic: many people shut down when climate change is brought up and they avoid the subject altogether. Others are fearful of the effects of climate change and want to help but feel powerless. And some people are eager to take action and do their part in combating climate change. 

Many teenagers and college students have made efforts to reduce their carbon footprint by making lifestyle changes. Going vegan, carpooling, and shopping sustainably are some of the many ways to cut down on carbon emissions. But unfortunately, big corporations are some of the main contributors to climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions––a major contributor to climate change––are the highest they’ve ever been. This leaves young generations as they have difficulty believing that they can make a difference. 

How Climate Change Affects Mental Health

Every continent on the Earth is now affected by climate change. Meaning, climate anxiety is a global issue and can affect anyone, regardless of location, wealth, or privilege.

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Many people are mentally affected by climate change because they have been faced with natural disasters, such as wildfires, serious storms, or flooding. While everyone reacts and copes differently, many survivors of these environmental disasters have some sort of lasting psychological trauma. PTSD, anxiety, depression, and grief are some of the many mental health issues that people who have lived through natural disasters struggle with. 

But you don’t need to be directly faced with a natural disaster to feel climate anxiety or despair over the state of the Earth. Just witnessing and learning about climate change is enough to cause mental health issues. There’s a sense of impending doom or existential dread that can wash over you when reflecting on climate change and its effects. 

Why Climate Anxiety is Often Overlooked

Climate anxiety is often overlooked or brushed off. This is because it can be difficult to discuss mental health concerns because there are still stigmas surrounding mental health. Climate anxiety is also typically not taken as seriously as other anxieties or mental health issues. This is because many people do not understand the serious, detrimental impacts of climate change. 

What to do About Climate Anxiety

  1. Talk to friends and family about climate change. 

Listen to their thoughts on the matter and discuss your own thoughts. Talk about the negative impacts and grieve with them. It can be healing and helpful to share your concerns with others.  

  1. Become a part of the solution

It is important to stay informed on environmental topics and to use your knowledge for good. Join a climate justice organization at your school or in your community. Connecting with others who also care about climate change can ease your worries and fears about the Earth’s future. Climate organizations are making a difference in your community and educating others on climate change. 

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  1. Join protests. 

If there are protests near you, make a sign and join in. Marching with other people who care about climate injustices is empowering. Protests help spark change by informing others and raising awareness. 

  1. Do what you can to help the environment. 

It is important to do what you can to reduce your own carbon footprint, but don’t become overly consumed with it. Eat a more plant-based diet, bike or carpool when you can, and use reusable bags. But try not to worry about how each of your actions will impact the environment. Those who experience climate anxiety often feel guilty about taking part in activities that affect the environment, like driving. Just do what you can and that will be enough.

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