Climate Anxiety: Avoiding Pre-Packaged Food Triggered an Eating Disorder

Essay by Eric Worrall

East Anglia has a new counselling programme to help students who are struggling to eliminate plastic packaging and cook their own food, and other eco-anxiety related issues.

Climate change: Don’t let doom win, project tells worriers

By Georgina Rannard
BBC News Climate & Science

A new project has been launched to address rising climate anxiety in students at the University of East Anglia.

At the opening in Norwich, students told BBC News they felt hopelessness, anger and despair about climate change.

They worry how they will live in a world with an unpredictable climate and the destruction of nature.

On Thursday a new survey found that 45% of UK students worry about climate change once a week or more.

Literature student Meg Watts, 22, said that she had experienced depression after being overwhelmed by the scale of problems facing the planet. And she sought therapy after developing disordered eating when trying to cut out food packaged with plastic.

The new programme was developed with mental health charity Norfolk and Waveney Mind, who realised young people were coming for counselling about their fears about climate change.

Common worries were about food security and whether or not to have children, explained Ruth Taylor from Mind. “Young people are trying to get ready for what is coming,” she suggests.

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I experience a real WTF reaction when I read things like this.

For example, these eco-anxious students could grow their own green food, if they want to avoid plastic.

Britain has an allotment system, in which the local government leases a decent size patch of garden to poor people to grow vegetables. The lease cost is very affordable, from as low as £8 (US $10) / year.

The land parcels are usually around 250 square yards. This might not sound like a lot, but Britain has some of the most insanely fertile land in the world. I’m no expert gardener, yet I grew 100 square yards of vegetables in 2002 in Britain, and I didn’t have to buy any greens from the supermarket for 3 months. Half the tomatoes I grew were wasted because I couldn’t eat them all. Another year I grew a few rows of potatoes and pulled at least 20lb of potatoes out of the ground.

Yet one of the students quoted by the BBC couldn’t even make the transition away from pre-packaged food, to having to prepare her own meals.

I mean, how difficult and time consuming is preparing your own meals? She couldn’t bring herself to chop a few vegetables and some cheap chuck steak, grab a handful of barley or oats, and throw it all into a low cost electric slow cooker with some water and a stock cube first thing in the morning. 5 minutes preparation and you get a delicious meal at the end of the day, just waiting for you to eat it. She went hungry, instead of taking 5 minutes per day preparing healthy food which doesn’t come out of a plastic package.

On one hand I believe the distress and in some cases mental illness experienced is real, and I feel for anyone who experiences such issues, even if the cause of their distress is entirely imaginary. But someone who experiences an eating disorder because they can’t deal with having to prepare their own food, I mean these people are supposed to be young adults, aren’t they?

via Watts Up With That?

May 1, 2022 at 08:25PM

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