ECO-ANXIETY: some tips to improve our mental health

May 2023 (Forli, Emilia Romagna, IT) = On a sunny afternoon of a dry season, alternating with violent rains here and there, I read on my phone screen the civil protection’s weather alert for heavy rain forecast.

I dismissed the problem without thinking, and that same evening, and for the next 48 hours, it fell on the territory of Emilia the same amount of rain that usually falls in 7 months.

The rainfall caused landslides, destruction, and fatalities.

Locked at home during those days, without light or electricity, forced to attend university lectures online despite living a few minutes walk from the faculty, I had the realisation that I was experiencing an environmental catastrophe firsthand. 

A (not-so-new) feeling of fear and helplessness in the face of life’s unpredictability crept into my everyday life. That same anguish, which has become stronger over the past few years, has a precise name and face: Eco-anxiety, and thousands of young people all over the world suffer from it. 

What is eco-anxiety?

The American Psychology Association (APA) describes eco-anxiety as “the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change and the associated concern for one’s future and that of the next generations”1

Specifically, eco-anxiety can be triggered by various events we witness in our daily lives, such as rising temperatures or weather reports on television, or, worst of all, we can witness first-hand climate disasters such as floods or forest fires that are becoming increasingly frequent.

Concern for the planet’s future has become a daily cause of distress and frustration for some people. Eco-anxiety manifests itself through symptoms that should be monitored, such as intense anxiety about the state of things, a feeling of powerlessness when faced with environmental degradation, a loss of faith in the future, obsessive thoughts about the climate, frustration, and anger towards the generations blamed for the current climate situation, panic, and depression, and in extreme cases, loss of appetite, insomnia and difficulty in concentrating. 2

Image created with Canva by Noemi Dolciotti

But who are most affected?

Anyone can suffer from eco-anxiety, but certain categories of people feel more pressure from environmental issues: 

  • Young people. Given the state of our planet, the future of the younger generation is uncertain. Yet, the data in the IPCC reports are very clear: to avoid disastrous climate consequences, we should be able to limit the world temperature rise to 1.5°C.3  However, to this day, only 6% of scientists believe that it is still possible to stay below this threshold.  Young people more than others (especially young women) feel the weight of this responsibility on their shoulders, and the uncertainty surrounding the future is becoming an increasingly tangible threat for some.

Other categories suffer particularly from eco-anxiety: 

  • People most easily affected by climate change, such as those who work in contact with nature or agricultural land (farmers, etc.);
  • People living near areas at risk (maritime and coastal regions or extremely dry areas);
  • People from marginalized communities who do not always have the means to cope with the burden of environmental damage.

How can we deal with it?

What you shouldn’t do: 

  1. Over-stimulate yourself. Staying informed about climate change is a useful way of keeping abreast of developments and becoming aware of the state of the planet and what is happening to others, but be careful not to become overwhelmed! Obsession is never the right solution, so skimming the news or even taking breaks from the media can help alleviate the symptoms of eco-anxiety.
  2. Isolating yourself. One of the biggest mistakes people can make in anxiety situations is usually to close in on themselves; talking to a family member, a friend, or a professional when experiencing episodes of anxiety or panic is always the best solution.
  3. Avoid universal pessimism. Yes, it’s important to be realistic when discussing the future of the planet: the current conditions are not the best… but there’s still a lot that can be done! Studies on mitigation and adaptation to climate change are constantly evolving, and nothing is yet definitive!4

What you can do:

  1. Make changes. Work on the things we can do right away: buy organic and local products, reduce food waste, favor soft and sustainable mobility ( bicycles, etc.), buy second-hand clothes, recycle, save energy, donate to associations that fight to preserve the environment, make those around us aware of environmental issues and sustainable practices… there’s a lot we can do, we just need to roll up our sleeves! 
  2. Get involved. Don’t forget that you’re not alone – many of us have the same concerns. Finding a local or regional organization to join or volunteering for NGOs or associations can make a real difference! As well as helping the environment, it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and get socially involved! One example is joining a group from the Collective Citoyen pour le Climat in Esch!
  3. Go outside! Take a breath of fresh air, do some outdoor activities, get in touch with nature, appreciate and be grateful for the life we are lucky enough to live every day, and focus on the beauty of the things you have in the present.


  1. ↩︎
  2.  ↩︎
  3. ↩︎
  4.  ↩︎

To go even further:


Buy less and more consciously: a “trend” that will help your wardrobe…and the ecology!

This is the first of a short series of articles on ecology in Luxembourg. Over the next few weeks until the end of June, I’ll be taking you on a journey of discovery on a variety of topics, starting with fast fashion, and then moving on to food, mobility, and more!

To find out more about the problem, just pass by “rue de l’Alzette” in Esch

In Luxembourg alone, the average person throws away 12 kilos of clothes a year, of which only 1% is recycled1. So where does the rest go?

This is the question that the exhibition “The Revival“, on display until May 11th in the former Sephora building (69 rue de l’Alzette) in Esch, seeks to answer.

Observation, reflection, and hope for a change: that’s the aim of this interactive exhibition, which shows the impact of fast fashion on other countries, such as Ghana.

As we all know, most of the clothes we buy at low prices from fast fashion chains are not produced ethically, either from a social/human point of view (such as the Rana Plaza accident, considered one of the biggest disasters in the fashion world) or from an environmental point of view (pollution and waste of vast water resources).

Photo of the revival exhibition. Ghana is one of the many landfill sites in the country where over-consumption is not generated directly, and discarded clothes are imported from global “North” countries.

Our most powerful weapon: our conscience

Although much progress has been made in recent years to regulate the impact of the fashion industry, there is still a long way to go. So how can we help?

We can start by committing to the path of sobriety, which is necessary if we want to create a positive impact and change the fashion industry.

However, the concepts of ‘sobriety’ and ‘minimalism’, which are in direct contrast to the consumerist society we live in, often have a negative connotation. We associate ‘owning less’ with a form of failure or social status that we reject. On the contrary, it could be an opportunity to free our minds, lighten our budgets, and save precious time.

The most effective solution is certainly to change our shopping habits and the way we dress. That’s why we need to ask ourselves some essential questions before we purchase an article: “Why am I buying it? Is it really useful? Will I still be wearing it in a few years? Is it made from sustainable materials?

One way to solve the problem: create a capsule wardrobe!

Photo: the beginning of the presentation led by Adelaide Dubucq in the Lëtz’ Refashion Luxembourg boutique.

To learn how to shop differently, I went to Lët’z Refashion by Caritas in Luxembourg City, a boutique-atelier dedicated to circular fashion. As part of the “Rethink your clothes” campaign, I took part in the “How to create your own capsule wardrobe” workshop with Adélaïde Dubucq, image consultant and founder of Relooking and Queen.

The event was instructive in many ways: I learned that, on average, each of us has around 70% of unwanted clothes in our wardrobe that end up being thrown away. To avoid this issue, Adélaïde Dubucq explained the importance of creating a ‘capsule wardrobe’, a wardrobe made up of a few essential items that can be worn for any occasion. The keywords are comfort, minimalism, creativity, and style. We only need 40 pieces in our closet – between clothes and accessories – that are easily interchangeable and combinable with each other. They should mostly be in neutral basic colors, but let’s not forget about our favorite unique and colorful pieces! This number, which may seem relatively small, is ideal for avoiding the “paradox of choice” that we face every day when we have to decide what to wear among the thousands of different items we possess.

Photo: spaces in the Letz’ Refashion boutique

Following trends and constantly updating our wardrobes doesn’t necessarily mean dressing fashionably or with style. Finding your style is essential if you don’t want to fall into the trap of “wanting to own everything you see in the shop window or online”.

So what do you do with the clothes you don’t need? Here are some ideas:

Create a stock, pack them up, and physically give them to organizations like Caritas, or sell them on platforms like Vinted or Facebook Market, sell them at flea markets, swap them at swap parties, or simply give them to friends and family or people in need.

On this occasion, I learned that even though it’s hard to make a change, it’s always less complicated than you think. And our smallest actions can have a huge impact, not just on our own lives, but on the lives of others…

I look forward to seeing you back here on the Transition Minett website to follow me on the next adventure and discover more about the ecological transition in Luxembourg!

To go even further:

  1. source: Exhibition “The Revival” by caritas Luxembourg ↩︎

Long live cycling!

The transportation sector accounts for almost 60% of CO2 emissions in Luxembourg, compared with only 30% for our neighbours. This is partly due to the strong attachment to personal cars (700 cars per 1,000 inhabitants, 1st place in Europe). What’s more, half of all journeys of less than 5km are made by car!

A fundamental method for reducing the supremacy of cars is to rethink our cities.

Gent, for example has redesigned it’s motorised traffic system into sections that are inaccessible to each other, at the same time, they developed a strong system of park-and-ride facilities, improving public transport and creating an interconnected cycle network, among others. And the results are very positive, motorised traffic has fallen by 20%!

The City of Esch intends to do the same with its new mobility plan, unveiled last year.

The best alternative to the car in town remains the bicycle and its offshoot the cargo bikes that are starting to appear everywhere.

A bike centre should soon be opening in Esch-sur-Alzette too. You’ll be able to drop in to maintain or repair your bike, test out accessories or find the best routes for your cycling trips!



BTW: do you know what the MESA is?

In the center of Esch, a stone’s throw away from the rue de l’Alzette, MESA is a third place dedicated to the ecological transition and more specifically to projects around food. Created and installed in 2016, thhe KM0 food cooperative, which manages thhe restaurant/vegetarian café and the bulk, organic and local grocer store.

  • in the restaurant you can taste good vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well ass gluten-free and vegan cakes and desserts;
  • at the grocery store you will find fresh and seasonal vegetables every week.

The grocery store also offers dairy products (eggs, butter, chesse), canned food, oils, fruit juice, wines, beer and dry goods in bulk.

MESA is also a place for initiative and the development of citizen projects, which regularly welcomes other non-profit organizations and informal groups for themed evenings, workshops and shared meals. The back of the building – the garage – has an associative kitchen and a meeting/workshop room. Come and meet us, have a coffee, do your shopping and discover this multi-faceted place committed to sustainable food in Esch.

  • Address: 1 rue du moulin L-4251 Esch/Alzette
  • Opening hours: Monday 8h-15h30 / Tuesday-Friday 8h-19h / Saturday 11h-16h