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5 Minute GAP - Advait and Francisca talk about climate anxiety


In another 5 minute GAP from GAP trustees Advait and Francisca they talk about having optimism for the future and how they deal with eco-anxiety.



"We Share Freely". The change we want to see in the world is bigger than we are. So, we're sharing our knowledge, resources and ideas to help more people and organisations take steps forward towards our vision of a green and thriving planet, where everyone can enjoy happy and healthy lives within the Earth's limits.


As part of this, we're launching our new "5 Minute GAP" series, a collection of five minute conversations that will share how we work and what we're working on. We'll talk about what we're trying to achieve and why, how we function as an organisation, and the thinking behind our plans and strategy.


We'll be regularly sharing these conversations, which will feature different members of our team and trustee board, as well as external experts.


We hope you enjoy listening in to our chats, getting to know our team and finding out what makes us who we are. 



Audio only version:


If you prefer to read rather than watch, the transcription is here: 


Advait: Speaking of the climate crisis, are you optimistic? You pessimistic?

Francisca: I'm I think I'm optimistic because I'd like to I like to think about the future and changes that we can make as if they're already happening
and imagine them as being real. I think sometimes when you think of things as, "oh, it can never happen" or "oh, it's never happened in the past" or, you know, "it's been 20 years and people have been campaigning for this, it's never going to happen." 

I think if you look at past campaigns that have happened, for example, for women's rights. People been campaigning for that for however many years. And, you know, women ended up getting the vote, being able to buy property, have their own bank account, et cetera. And though it's not the same, but, you know, gender justice is still climate justice, I do feel like we have these examples of past campaigners and activists who have persistently campaigned for something or had to convince, you know, a big population this was the right thing for our futures. And we're all doing that day today. And we might not see the impact of it immediately, but the small conversations that we have, the small interactions that we have, the small actions that we do sort of day to day, they will have an impact, whether it's in 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, 50 years. 

And just going back to what I said about imagining a future that we don't currently live in, that keeps me optimistic because even though I might not be living in exactly the world I want to live in now, I sort of think, oh in the future it could be like this or it will be like this. How do you imagine the future and are you optimistic or pessimistic?

Advait: I think first and foremost, I am fearful along with a lot of other people about what the future holds because there is so much to lose and the world as a whole is not acting with the requisite urgency to make a change. But I think that's exactly why we need to be optimistic. I'm fearful, but I'm optimistic at the same time because there's so much at stake that pessimism is simply not an option. You know, despite polarization, disillusion and international discord and whatnot, I hope that, you know, we can remain stubbornly optimistic in our ability to forge a greener world, because after all, as Nelson Mandela said, I believe "it always seems impossible until it's done". 

Francisca: And how do you deal with your fears for the future? I'm going to call it... your eco-anxiety, essentially. 

Advait: It's tough. I think I am experiencing all sorts of cognitive dissonance because on the one hand, I'm absolutely terrified about inaction. But on the other hand, I know that I must remain stubbornly optimistic because if if I fall into pessimism, then there's a risk that I won't act because I believe that everything is already decided, that the future is it is inevitable. How about you? Did you have any fears about climate change? 

Francisca: I think I have fears in the sense that sometimes it feels as though you're shouting into an echo chamber of people who are already engaged and people who are already interested. And it takes time to build those relationships with people where they trust you to tell them something and they're going to believe it. And particularly people who've been left out of the climate conversation so like marginalized communities, for example, you need to rebuild relationships or even build those relationships so that you go into those communities. They trust you. You can arm them the information and they can take local action, but you can also help them set the local action. I think that's probably the element of it, that sometimes makes me feel bit fearful. So like, is anyone really listening? Am I really make an impact? Have I changed someone's opinion or have I... even if it's just one person, like, have I actually done that? Where is the proof? 

And I guess a way, I personally cope with that is surrounding myself with people who are very supportive and who give me that space to be able to be like, guys, I don't feel like I'm making an impact at the moment. Or understanding that I need to rest and take care of myself as well. And I can't just always
pour into the movement. Sometimes you do need to take take a step back, re-evaluate everything. Do some more reading, have some more conversations
with people that are informal, and then come back to it with more energy and finding new groups that you might have heard of to collaborate. 

I think collaboration is what helps me and that collaborative action and support you can get from other groups. What about you? How do you deal with your fears, eco-anxiety, being disillusioned?

Advait: I think unlike your healthy approach of taking a break what I've done is pretty much throw myself headlong into climate activism to try and make a difference and to put myself at ease with the changes that are going on in the world. I don't quite know. I think I think I need to I need to find a way of dealing with my fears better.