“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

If you are motivated to protect the planet but aren’t sure how, this article is for you. In this series, we’ve discussed that:

  • Feeling anxious about the environment makes sense, but trying to escape fear can make things worse.
  • By learning to face and cope with these feelings, we can find the motivation to take action.

Armed with knowledge and tools, you’re ready to turn eco-anxiety into eco-action.

Dealing with the climate crisis requires working together. While you may be just one person, together our impact can multiply. Think about it: it only takes one enthusiastic and persistent person at an event to get a crowd of 50,000 people doing the wave!

There is not one action you can take to fix things. Even if we do everything we can, we can’t be sure it will make the impact we hope for. But one thing’s for sure: doing nothing won’t help at all.

The road ahead will be tough, and it’s going to take time. Fear might motivate you, but don’t let it control everything you do. The best ways to help will be connected to what you care about and believe in. That means finding ways to engage that match your interests, values, and skills. It also means choosing things you can maintain. To avoid burnout, make sure you also care for yourself along the way.

Here are some broad ideas on ways to help the planet that can also support your mental health.

Free your feelings and say something

Even though we often hear about the climate crisis, we tend to believe other people around us are not concerned. When we keep quiet, we feel alone in our worries. We may also make others think we’re not concerned. This becomes a big problem when businesses and governments use this silence as a reason not to take action on climate change.

Speaking up about our concerns for the planet helps us recognize and deal with our feelings. It reduces how alone we feel and helps us find support from others. It can also influence other people’s perspectives and inspire them to do something. Enough voices speaking together can even shift business practices and government policies. Speaking up is powerful and meaningful!

You can start small. Try opening up in conversations with trusted friends or loved ones. Don’t set out to convince others of anything. Instead, talk honestly about how you’re feeling. Connect it to why it is important to you. Discuss your inspirations and ways you plan on taking action.

As you become more comfortable, you can speak out more; this might involve:

  • Voting for leaders who will take action for the planet;  
  • Sharing ideas and raising awareness on social media;
  • Talking about it with others in everyday conversations; 
  • Signing petitions and joining protests;
  • Writing to or meeting with leaders and politicians to demand that they take action.


Nurture your nature

Modern living can leave us feeling disconnected from the planet and wear us down. Spending time in nature helps us feel better and heal.

It makes us feel more connected to the planet and has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

If parks are not easily accessible, talk to your doctor about the PaRx program to obtain a nature prescription that helps cover fees.

To get the most out of being in nature, try to spend at least two hours a week and go for at least 20 minutes at a time. Find things to do outside that you like.

For example, you might take a walk along a tree-lined street, eat lunch in the park, play a game in your backyard, spend time in the forest or by the beach, photograph birds, garden, hike, or kayak.

Whatever you choose, it can be helpful to:

  • Slow down;
  • Use your senses to interact with your surroundings (what you can smell, see, hear);
  • Reflect on your relationship with the world around you.

Connect With Your Community

When you are facing the climate crisis all by yourself, it can seem really overwhelming. But you’re not alone! Lots of people want to help too. If you start looking, you’ll find many individuals and groups already working hard to protect the planet.

For instance, there are organizations that:

  • Take care of plants and animals in their local areas,
  • Clean up plastic or other waste,
  • Teach communities how to be more sustainable,
  • Study and promote eco-friendly technology,
  • Help prepare and support communities affected by disasters,
  • Encourage people to get involved in politics.


Joining a local group that matches your interests can help you meet others who care about the same things. They can also show you what additional actions you can take, and together, you can make a real difference.

Grow Gratitude & Consume Consciously

Advertising wants us to believe that we need more in order to be happy. But in reality, this mindset can make us less happy. It can also result in a lot of waste, pollution, and unnecessary harm to the planet. 

Instead, we can act for the planet by being grateful for what we already have. Gratitude might involve enjoying and appreciating the things in our lives and how they have come to be. Learn more about adding gratitude into your life.

When we need or want things, we can try to make decisions that honour the connection between our well-being and the planet’s. For example:

  • Walking, cycling, or using public transit instead of driving can build exercise into our days, reduce emissions/pollution, and make our communities more livable.
  • Following the food guide and eating more plants and less meat (especially beef) can enhance our nutrition and reduce negative impacts from our diet.
  • Buying less new clothing and other items—by choosing durable, secondhand items or repairing/reusing what we already have—can enhance our appreciation for what we have while also reducing our waste.    
  • Instead of flying far, travelling locally can help us connect with nature and culture, support local businesses, and reduce our emissions. 

These are just some examples to get you started. If you want to explore more ways to take action for the planet, check out 52 Climate Actions or 15 Sustainable Living Tips.

As you decide to deal with the climate crisis, know that it won’t be easy. There will be tough times and feelings. Try to see the uncertainty as an exciting adventure that brings purpose to your life. When you feel like giving up, be extra kind to yourself, stay curious, and get creative. Learn new things, ask for help, try something different, and find ways to express yourself. It’s not your responsibility to solve it all on your own. Just try your best to act as the person you want to be and join with others that share a similar vision for the future. 

Congrats on getting this far. Your awareness of the problem and intention to seek solutions suggest you are already part of the change!

Thank you to Dr. Robert Selles, who created this resource. Special thanks to other members of the Scientific Advisory Committee for their input and review: Drs. Melanie Badali, Carmen McLean, Lynn Miller, Marlene Taube-Schiff, and Maureen Whittal.