Written by Kathryn McCallum / Australian Conservation Foundation
We are the champions for this planet. Together we are an unstoppable movement, insisting on a survivable future. But sometimes it gets rough. Here are some tips on sustaining ourselves for the long haul of building a better world.
Look after yourself
For decades now, the road to climate action in Australia has been long and bumpy. As the scale of the climate and mass extinction crisis becomes clearer and we experience setbacks, grief and anger can be overwhelming.
So take care. Look after your body, mind and heart so you’re ready for the long haul of rebuilding our world. To change everything, we’re going to need everyone.
Resilience is a renewable if we take take time to rest and recharge.
Connect with nature. Connect with others. Connect with yourself.
As we rush through our busy lives, it can be easy to forget we’re part of nature – a vibrant, diverse community of living things. Whether it’s talking to your neighbour or picking fresh wattle from the park – find connection with the people around you and get to know your little corner of this ecosystem. We promise you’ll feel a tonne better. (And at worst, you’ll have a fresh bunch of flowers.)
This makes you happier and healthier, and it’s vital to sustaining you for the long haul of building a better world.
Connect with nature
No matter how bad it seems, the real world – nature! – will actually make you feel better.
Go sit under a tree. Look out for birds nests while you walk. Forage for edible weeds. Pause and watch bees as they bumble by. Go cloudspotting, snorkelling or star gazing. Ramble through a forest or possum up a tree. Mentally high-five one the pollinators who helped make your dinner.
For more ideas, check out this beautiful A-Z “play outside” card deck. Use each letter in the kit to rekindle your connection to nature.
Connect with your community
You can’t build community without, well, community.
By rebuilding community, we can renew democracy and the hope we invest in it. We can rebuild the system – the economy and democracy – from the roots upwards.
Join a community choir, a co-op or a skill share. Visit your local farmers market or community garden.
Connect with yourself
Get a good night’s sleep. Take some time off the internet. Go for a walk.
Do something you love. Cuddle a puppy. Get lost in your favourite novel. Take some time out to paint, sing, dance, bake, play – whatever brings you joy!
Check out these resources for self-care and dealing with burnout and distress:
- Plan to thrive: activist health and well-being
- Self-care for activists
- A self-care guide to helping the planet by 1 million women
- Active Hope by Joanna Macy
- Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
- Mindful Self-Compassion by Chris Germer
- Brené Brown on Vulnerability (Ted Talk)
- Naomi Klein at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas
- Search “Jon Young nature connection or “Jon Young culture repair“ for video talks.
A few years ago, Paul Hawken tried to count the number of organisations working for environmental and social justice around the world, and estimated between one and two million. This is the largest movement in the world.
It might not seem like it now, but we are about to enter one of the most important decades in human history.
The solutions to the climate crisis already exist. We just need to ramp them up.
This will be the most creative, transformative decade humanity has ever seen. Simply because it has to be.
So take a moment to rest and recharge, then let’s get to work.