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Coping with climate despair in the new year

The start of a new year offers time to reflect on the goals we wanted to accomplish in the year prior. Did I finally clear out that junk drawer? Did I start practicing yoga and meditation? How’s my budget looking? Have I kicked the bad habit I told myself I’d work on?  

These questions are great for checking in with yourself and your progress toward your goals, but they can also bring feelings of despair and hopelessness. Feeling stuck at the beginning of the year and fixating on the things you didn’t accomplish or things you could’ve done better often distracts us from the great progress we HAVE made.  

The same is true for our tireless efforts to keep the planet healthy; commonly known as climate despair

Climate despair is a valid and sobering feeling. The bigness of climate change can feel intimidating to us as individuals. It’s easy to think, “what will buying a refillable water bottle, using less energy or recycling really do to help the planet?” 

Shifting your mindset 

Grappling with how the little things make a large impact on this sometimes-scary goal might require a shift in mindset. Rather than thinking of your efforts to make the climate healthier as a drop in a large, still pond, give yourself some grace. And remember that the drop you contribute creates ripple effects that create change in the entire pond. Now, imagine helping your friends, family, coworkers and strangers contribute their drop. Each drop creates a larger ripple and soon the rain shower of effort impacts the health of the Earth in a bigger way.  

Individual contributions to fight climate change are being mirrored in corporations, governments and organizations to continue the path and sustain our commitment to creating a healthier planet. Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint actively works toward the transition to renewable, sustainable energy sources that are better for the health of the planet.  

The next time you’re feeling tired or burnt out about the state of the climate, remember that your drop in the pond is always important and causes momentum toward longevity for our planet and all of us who live on it.  
Grant Barton is a Communications Partner with a passion for sustainability and eco-friendly city planning. He has a diverse background in engineering, politics and international communications and hopes to apply this experience when writing and breaking down complex topics related to Alliant Energy's Clean Energy Future plans.

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