Ecological Anxiety and Community Building

Over the last few weeks we have been conducting research into ecological anxiety and world building with our Green Technicians. At a particularly worrying time when the world is feeling threatened by increasing wildfires, drought, and extreme heat it has been inspiring to hear from our Green Techs about their concerns and hopes for the future.

During the interviews we heard about the range of anxieties felt about the planet and the ways in which these occupy the lives of many young people struggling to cope with the uncertainties of the future. One Green Tech shared:

I am very anxious about the planet’s wellbeing and it’s gotten to the point where I often feel guilty doing anything. … I don’t know what to expect for the future – Will it get better? Will it get worse? I’m constantly thinking should I be doing more even though I know it doesn’t fall on my responsibility solely, but that’s how you feel.

Students noted that working on the Green Technician programme was helpful in challenging some of these anxieties and channelling the possibilities for creating hopeful futures. A core aspect of this was the creation of a space where people could come together to share and discuss their concerns and to think about solutions. Reflecting on the sessions one Green Tech said:

What I loved about it was that everyone was so nice and there were so many like-minded people. I loved going into the little break out rooms and talking about things that were important to us and important to everyone else and connecting ideas.

We are very grateful to all our Green Techs for taking part in this research and being such an integral component of our IGA community. As we reflect further on the experiences shared in the interviews we also think about our own ecological anxieties and the ways in which working with the Green Techs has helped reaffirm our imaginings of hopeful new worlds.