Meet The Climate Activist Turning Eco-Anxiety Into Action
It's our mission to drive planet-positive change. That's why we're partnering with leading voices in the sustainability movement – voices like young climate activist Clover Hogan.
Clover told us how at age 11 she wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies so she turned to environmental documentaries. Learning about the equally scary state of the planet, she felt she had to do something. Since then, she’s spent the last ten years campaigning to reduce global warming, researching eco-anxiety, and working with other young people via her nonprofit, Force of Nature.
Here Clover gives inspiring tips on what people can do to make a difference by adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle. She also shares her views on how businesses and governments should reduce their carbon footprint, and take environmental responsibility.
So, how common is eco-anxiety?
UK research shows that over 70% of people aged 18-24 are experiencing eco-anxiety.* We found the same on a global scale, with young people in over fifty countries saying that eco-anxiety was driving feelings of hopelessness and negatively contributing to mental health. It’s a really healthy response; it shows that rather than numbing ourselves, we are awake to the issues.
How can people channel their eco-anxiety into something more positive?
Part of the reason we feel so overwhelmed is we can obsess over individual change and feel lost at how it doesn't often add up to systemic ones. Those individual actions can be great to reinforce values but we don’t want to lose sight of the bigger changes that are required. We need to find a balance in the conversation between individual action and institutional environmental responsibility, especially that of companies that touch billions of lives each day.
Why do you feel that young people play such an important part in solving the climate puzzle?
We have become good at putting this climate crisis on the backburner but young people don't have that privilege. We will be the generation who are going to be left to pick up the pieces but we weren't taught about these problems in school. I felt frustrated that I had to learn from documentaries, not the classroom. There is real anger from young people who are waking up to this crisis and that has incredible power to drive change.
Having worked with primary school students, I’ve seen how they have the power to reimagine the systems we are living in. People in power are so accustomed to the systems as they are currently configured, it is really difficult to imagine an alternative. Power lies in bringing together the creativity and energy of the youth movement with the wisdom and experience of older generations.
On a positive note, what is making you excited about the climate movement right now?
For a long time we have failed in the sustainability space to move the conversation away from polar bears and solar panels. It has felt like something distant and abstract but increasingly we are talking about the urgency of the crisis. In particular, the intersectionality of climate justice and racial justice and how they are not two separate things. We are now creating more avenues for people to participate in these conversations.
It’s also exciting to see people assuming positions of power in policy politics who haven't been there previously. When we have unconventional people in those spaces, we can see change happen at a much faster pace. We’ve also seen lots of groups of young people across the world suing the government for climate inaction.
And finally, what is the one thing you would encourage everyone to do today to help the climate crisis?
I would advocate listening to those feelings of eco-anxiety. We are all aware that we are facing a tipping point as humanity. Rather than plastering over that sense of injustice or focusing on feelings of frustration or anger, listen to them. Realise that it means you have empathy for the issue and can do something about it. I would advise people to tune into their gut response so that when something ignites that fire, that’s the thing they need to take action on.
Like Clover, we believe in the power of listening to our feelings of eco-anxiety as a way to inspire us to take action. Join the climate movement and make one of these positive steps today:
Educate yourself. Follow climate activists and influencers like Clover Hogan on social media to keep up to date on sustainability issues, and discover how to get involved.
Read up on brands who are committed to reducing their impact on the planet. At Dove, we care about improving the health of the planet; striving for a more sustainable way of being. Read more about our commitment here.
Shout about your sustainable lifestyle. Share the positive changes you are making with friends or on social media to inspire others to do the same.