I’m 26 and mostly full of enthusiasm for the future. But when I think about the heat waves, floods, and humanitarian crises that I’ll likely experience in my lifetime, I feel a sense of dread. And even more so when I think about the future of my children and my children’s children. I wonder if they’ll get to experience all the beauty of God’s creation that I so cherished while growing up.

As a young farmer, I feel my chest tighten as I watch weather patterns and the seasons become more and more erratic. I worry if there’ll be wars for food and water with a warmer climate, or if water sources will be polluted and the soil will be eroded.

Many people, especially my age, feel the same way. A recent survey asked 10,000 young people across the world about their thoughts and feelings regarding climate change. According to the findings, three out of four young people think the future is frightening. More than half reported feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, and powerlessness when thinking about climate change. And around 45 percent of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.

These fears have become so prevalent in our generation that a new term has been coined: eco-anxiety.

In a way, young people today have fulfilled climate activist Greta Thunberg’s provocation to leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2019: “I don't want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.”

But while I respect Thunberg’s contribution to putting climate change on the world’s agenda, I disagree with her on this. I don’t believe that panic will help us. What we need more of today is hope—a deep hope, not a kind of naive hope that closes its eyes to reality.

The environmental reality does look bleak. Just remember last summer—it was brutally hot. According to climate scientists at NASA, it was Earth’s hottest since global records began in 1880. But despite the record heat of 2023, it likely will be one of the coolest years in the lives of many young people. Many scientists believe our planet is on track for alarming global warming, a biodiversity crisis, and serious disruptions in weather patterns.

Residents of Oceania and the Maldives, for example, are highly at risk for rising sea levels. The resettlement of some villages and towns has already begun. And in the future, many more “environmental refugees” will likely have to flee their homes because they can no longer stay there—an estimated 216 million refugees by 2050.

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The impacts of climate change are felt most by the poorest, such as subsistence farmers and communities with limited access to funds after environmental disasters hit. These people are also the ones who have least contributed to climate change.

Biodiversity loss, wildfires, pollution, climate change, and extreme weather events certainly give us reasons to lament and worry. We can feel powerless when decision-makers fail to protect the environment and our future. And the constant stream of bad news that we’re exposed to online takes its emotional toll too.

As a Christian, I know that God cares for the world. But I also believe that God is lamenting for all that has gone wrong with his creation. Jesus never shied away from feelings. Instead, he openly showed emotions such as sadness, fear, anger, and grief. The Christian faith equips us with tools to deal with the fear we may feel for the future of the Earth. Here are three practices that have helped me deal with my own eco-anxiety.

Take small steps to change.

My grandad has been cultivating a small apple orchard behind his house for decades. One sunny week in September, my father, my cousin, her husband, her young son, and I harvested the apples. While I was picking the sweet fruit from the branches, I noticed little ladybugs nestled in the hollow around the apple stem, seemingly asleep.

I carefully woke the beetles and gently placed them on a branch. I didn’t want them to die in the cider press or in the cellar. In relation to the current insect decline, my action may seem completely pointless. But it gave me hope. And I think God was pleased too (the aphids perhaps less so).

When worries for the planet paralyze us, we can do something to care for it, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Cook a meal instead of buying a plastic-wrapped ready-made one. Bike to work or school instead of driving. Invite someone around for a cup of fair-trade organic tea. Avoid doomscrolling and don’t pick up your smartphone for an hour. Plant a salad on your windowsill.

This may seem ridiculous in view of the scale of the crisis. But stewardship helps. We can also be sure that every act of love, no matter how small, is worthy in the eyes of God.

Talk to the Good Shepherd.

Nothing can calm me down like sitting in a meadow and looking at a flock of sheep. Sheep are very fearful animals. Only once they feel completely safe and have eaten their fill do they lie down in the grass together. As I watch the animals graze and lie down, my anxieties subside. I can’t help but think of Psalm 23:

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (vv. 1–3)

I begin to talk to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. To the Lord of all creation, through whom everything was created (Col. 1:16), but who at the same time cares for every sparrow (Luke 12:6). When everything around us seems gloomy and we are tormented by fears about the future, we can rest assured: God is for us. Jesus is the lighthouse bringing hope, order, wisdom, and light into our world.

During an uncertain time, Psalm 90:14 particularly spoke to me: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Simple, short prayers throughout the day can be helpful—a conversation with the Good Shepherd. For example, as we read the news and feel anxiety or worry, we might direct a quiet Lord, have mercy or Into your hands I commit this to God. Or we might ask him, What do you want me to do?


This practice may sound almost ironic in view of the state of our planet. But I believe that celebrating is exactly where the key to hope lies. While fear, worry, and anger are legitimate emotions considering the injustices of the environmental crisis, they can also easily rob us of joy or make us cynical. But in this state, we can no longer enjoy—or serve—beautiful relationships with God, our fellow human beings, and the rest of creation.

So let us not close our eyes and hearts to all the beauty and goodness that we still have left. Instead, let us celebrate and enjoy it! “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” the psalmist invites us (Ps. 34:8).

At a time when I was physically and emotionally unwell, I suddenly had the urge to celebrate life. I was inspired by the many festivals that the Israelites were supposed to celebrate year after year. In the midst of heaviness and hopelessness, I wanted to celebrate the good.

I started to think about how I could do good for myself, others, and nature. It is only when we can share our joy with others that we experience complete happiness. So, under the motto “Celebrate, Share, and Renew,” I made a list of ideas for the coming month.

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I treated myself to coffee and cake with a good book in a lovely café. I gave away homemade pralines. I invited my best friends over to make sourdough pizza. I went for a walk and consciously savored God’s majestic creation. I donated to a Christian nature conservation organization for projects like bio-sand water filters and fruit trees for schools and communities in Uganda, beehives for farmers in Kenya, and reforestation projects in Peru or Lebanon.

When my festive month was over, I felt as if the fog had finally lifted. My sadness had actually turned into joy. I could finally laugh and write again with hope, and that hope had taken the form of concrete acts of love.

What if we sat down at God’s richly laid table—in the face of all the bad things that are happening in the world? And what would it be like if we invited our friends and neighbors, young and old, to join us? What if, in our work to care for God’s creation, we also enjoyed it ourselves—through colorful autumn leaves, joyful walks, and delicious, lovingly prepared food?

As Christians, we must neither whitewash reality nor live in fear of doom. Rather, we can live hopefully in the midst of environmental concern. While acknowledging the ecological challenges of today, we can face our feelings of eco-anxiety. And then, we can take environmental action out of love for the Creator, knowing that one day, we will rejoice in the renewed creation.

Naomi Bosch is an author, agricultural scientist, and freelance writer focused on sustainability and creation care. She lives and farms in Zagreb, Croatia.