From eco-anxiety to eco-agency

GDST students gathered for an online workshop on how to feel empowered in the face of climate change

The GDST’s Eco-Society joined an online workshop which aims to empower young people to take action on climate change. With 70% of 18-24-year-olds in the UK now experiencing ‘eco-anxiety’, according to Friends of the Earth, students gathered together for the workshop run by youth-led organisation Force of Nature to learn how to turn these feelings of fear, stress, panic and guilt into those of agency, purpose and action.

force of nature
Clover Hogan, climate activist and founder of Force of Nature.

Bringing together students from across the GDST’s family of schools, the workshop was run by Clover Hogan, the founder of Force of Nature, which aims to empower Gen Z to step up, rather than shut down, in the face of the climate crisis. They have worked with thousands of young people across the world on identifying and driving real solutions to some of the planet’s most pressing problems.

“All of these young women had a problem they wanted to solve, and an abundance of energy to show up and be agents of change”

After discussing terms such as eco-privilege and ecophobia, attendees participated in a crash course on climate psychology, detailing the science behind the headlines. During the latter part of the workshop, students focused on reflection activities and meditation, linking mental health with environmentalism, and were encouraged to identify their own personal barriers to taking action and put a plan in place for longer term action.

Students were invited to share their own insights on how they feel towards taking action on the environment, such as ‘I’m too small to make a difference?’. Clover coached students to reappraise the relationship between self-belief and the ability to take action using the SEAD technique. SEAD stands for, ‘Story, expectation, attitude and decision’ and following this approach enabled students to reconsider some of their beliefs and feel empowered enough to rewrite their own stories.

Force of Nature Founder, Clover Hogan, said:

“To solve enormous challenges like the climate crisis, we need to create space for the difficult emotions that surface. The frustration, anxiety, and the feeling of powerlessness. Then, we need to channel this energy into action. My co-facilitator and I were so inspired to work with the students of GDST. From re-inventing fast fashion, to changing our food system – all of these young women had a problem they wanted to solve, and an abundance of energy to show up and be agents of change. Force of Nature is incredibly excited to see where this passion takes them next; and keep supporting them in their journey.”