The best antidote to climate anxiety is to take action. As the former president Mary Robinson puts it: “Get personal, get angry, get involved.”
The focus on changing our individual behaviour can be overwhelming and, frankly, pointless, given the scale of the challenge and the power of the fossil-fuel industry. The most important thing an individual can do is not be an individual. The climate movement in Ireland is growing, and it is diverse and inclusive of everyone.
Join environmental and climate organisations such as Friends of the Earthand Not Here Not Anywhere and support them with your time and donations and by getting involved in existing campaigns or starting new ones. Friends of the Earth and Stop Climate Chaos set up One Future climate-action groups around the country last year; you can sign up at onefuture.ie/join.
The most effective form of action is collaborative, visible and vocal. Get in touch with your local TDs and councillors and ask them what they are doing to ensure Ireland does its share of the global effort
One Future campaigns alongside other civil-society coalitions fighting for faster and fairer climate action, such as Coalition 2030 and Environmental Pillar, as well as trade unions, youth groups and international-development and social-justice organisations.
Some local public participation networks are highly engaged with climate action; the new climate law will require all local authorities to adopt a climate plan that tackles both emissions and adaptation to more frequent flooding, drought and other severe weather.
The most effective form of action is collaborative, visible and vocal. Get in touch with your local TDs and councillors and ask them what they are doing to ensure Ireland does its share of the global effort to reduce emissions and stay below 1.5 degrees of warming. Invite them to town-hall meetings (over Zoom if necessary) and highlight local public transport, cycling and green-infrastructure gaps. Link up with groups that focus on wildlife and biodiversity, and ask your local authority about providing allotments, eliminating its use of chemicals and planting native species. Work with others to set up sustainable-energy communities.
At a household level, consider switching to Community Power, Ireland's only community electricity provider, and look into ways to reduce your energy bills from heating, hot water and appliances. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has an excellent website with information about retrofitting and energy-saving schemes and tips.
Finally, reducing (or eliminating) your consumption of red meat and avoiding air travel, especially long-haul, lowers your individual carbon footprint substantially.
Read: So we have a global climate emergency. What next?
Sadhbh O'Neill is a researcher and lecturer in climate policy at Dublin City University