The Process of Eco-Anxiety and Ecological Grief
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  • Release Date: 2022-12-22
  • eco-anxiety
  • ecological grief
  • climate anxiety
  • climate grief
  • solastalgia
  • eco-emotion
  • bereavement
  • process model
Video Introduction

This video is adapted from 10.3390/su142416628

As the ecological crisis grows more intense, people experience many forms of eco-anxiety and ecological grief. This article explores the broad process of encountering eco-anxiety and ecological grief, and engages in the constructive task of building a new model of that process. Eco-anxiety and grief are here seen as fundamentally healthy reactions to threats and loss, and only the strongest forms of them are seen as problems. The aim is to help researchers, various professionals and the general public by providing a model which is (a) simple enough but (b) more nuanced than stage models which may give a false impression of linearity. The article uses an interdisciplinary method. The proposed new model includes both chronological and thematic aspects. 

In the new model, the early phases of Unknowing and Semi-consciousness are followed potentially by some kind of Awakening and various kinds of Shock and possible trauma. A major feature of the model is the following complex phase of Coping and Changing, which is framed as consisting of three major dimensions: Action (pro-environmental behavior of many kinds), Grieving (including other emotional engagement), and Distancing (including both self-care and problematic disavowal). The model predicts that if there is trouble in any of these three dimensions, adjusting will be more difficult. The model thus helps in seeing, e.g., the importance of self-care for coping. The possibility of stronger eco-anxiety and/or eco-depression is always present, including the danger of burnout. The ethical and psychological aim is called Adjustment and Transformation, which includes elements of, e.g., meaning-finding and acceptance. The need for Coping and Changing continues, but there is more awareness and flexibility in a metaphase of Living with the Ecological Crisis, where the titles and subtitles of the three dimensions of coping are switched.

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Pihkala, P. The Process of Eco-Anxiety and Ecological Grief. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 21 April 2024).
Pihkala P. The Process of Eco-Anxiety and Ecological Grief. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 21, 2024.
Pihkala, Panu. "The Process of Eco-Anxiety and Ecological Grief" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 21, 2024).
Pihkala, P. (2022, December 22). The Process of Eco-Anxiety and Ecological Grief. In Encyclopedia.
Pihkala, Panu. "The Process of Eco-Anxiety and Ecological Grief." Encyclopedia. Web. 22 December, 2022.