Earth Day hits different – AllSwell Creative

Earth Day hits different

Posted by AllSwell Creative on

Hello, friend. 

Not sure about you, but for me honoring Earth Day feels different this year. I used to kick off the AllSwell “nature as muse” journaling workshop with this soothing quote from Walt Whitman

“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on - have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear - what remains? Nature remains.”

But it no longer feels quite right. Given the growing frequency of intense weather events, the reassuring sense of constancy that nature once provided isn’t the same for me today as it was even a few years ago.

Eco-anxiety is real. It’s not relegated simply to the “worried well” in high-income brackets. “Anxiety and distress about the ecological crisis seems to be a rapidly growing phenomenon,” states a 2020 study about environmental education. In a 2018 survey, 72% of people aged 18–34 said that negative environmental news stories affected their emotional well-being, such as by causing anxiety, racing thoughts or sleep problems. Whether you refer to it as eco-distress, climate grief or solastalgia (distress linked to environmental change), it’s increasingly becoming a factor in our global mental health.

I’ve noticed that environmental concerns are increasingly mentioned by journaling workshop participants, even when the topic of the session is unrelated. Like you, sometimes I can also feel overwhelmed by the complexity of our environmental problems. I wish I could write a prescription for what ails our planet.

But I know that taking care of our mental and emotional well being is absolutely imperative. We can’t afford to go numb, to shut down. We need to be resourced and nourished in order to have the creativity and stamina to problem solve, individually and collectively.

Identifying and taking actionable steps helps one's personal resilience. In my case, I can honor what may be your experience by naming and normalizing it. Sources of anxiety tend to flourish when they remain stuffed down beneath the surface, so let’s bring the topic out into the light of day.

In his thoughtful book, “The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature,” J. Drew Lanham writes, “To save wildlife and wild places the traction has to come not from the regurgitation of bad-news data but from the poets, prophets, preachers, professors, and presidents who have always dared to inspire.” 

To that end, here is a journaling prompt for you to spend some time with on Earth Day (Monday, April 22nd), or any day:  

What steps can you take to be an advocate for the natural world? Maybe it’s joining an environmental advocacy group, or learning how to compost? Maybe it’s making a commitment to spending more time in the natural world, choosing some places you’ve wanted to go but haven’t prioritized yet? Maybe it’s dedicating a portion of your platform/s - whatever those may be - to speaking out on these issues?

I hope this contemplation on the page will help you find practicable ways that are true to you, identifying opportunities to support both yourself and our environment - daring to inspire. 

In Swellness,



Image credit: baby octopus, Juan Oliphant

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