Local nonprofit group The Resilient ActivistThe initial findings of A study on climate anxietyIn the Kansas City, Lawrence and surrounding areas. The group conducted a survey of 46 community members and climate activists in partnership with the University of Kansas Department of Psychology.
While the sample of participants surveyed was small and partially self-selected, the study’s initial findings help demonstrate the prevalence of climate grief and fear among “environmentally engaged” locals. Here are some of these key findings.
What emotional toll does the climate crisis take on Kansas City?
A large majority of participants reported feeling sad and frustrated due to climate change and environmental destruction. These were the most common responses to a question about emotions related to climate crisis.
Other responses included guilt, anxiety, hopelessness, and guilt. However, a small percentage of participants felt hopeful about the future.
“It saddens me to think that humanity can be this disinterested or blind to the consequences of our actions,” one participant said. Participants in the study were not allowed to quote each other.
What are the local environmentalists’ responses?
Participants were also asked how they respond to climate-related emotions. Nearly twenty participants shared the most popular answer: Seeking out nature.
“It’s so important for me to spend time in as many green spaces as I can,” one participant said.
Tied for the second most common coping mechanisms were “incremental progress” and “seek like-minded others.” Here are some of the You can start small at homeTo combat the climate crisis. Reduce harmful waste is an excellent way to help the planet. Recycling guide composting guide can help you get started.
“Having that self-compassion [helps me] because I feel the weight of all those things,” said another participant. “[Have] the compassion for yourself that we can only do so much.”
What can you do to combat the climate crisis in Kansas City
Participants were asked what they could do in their communities to support sustainable well-being in the face climate change. The most common answer, shared by 35 participants, was “Community action.”
There are many ways you can engage with the Kansas City community for sustainability and climate action. From participating in trash clean-ups to contacting your elected officials regarding climate justice, there are many options. Check out our Guide to volunteering opportunities for the environmentTo get involved.
“Figure out, what can I sustain as an individual? And then find the form of activism that fits who you are,” another participant said in their closing remarks. “Because this is not going to go away. And so, [figure] out the thing that moves you.”
Are you interested in learning more about sustainability efforts within Kansas City? Contact our Service Journalism team at firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease fill out the form below.
Natalie Wallington is a reporter on the Star’s service desk covering government programs, community resources, COVID-19 data and environmental action among other topics. Her journalism work has been published in the Washington Post Magazine, Audubon Magazine and Popular Science, VICE News and other publications.