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8 Steps to Self-Empowerment Amidst Climate Change

articles Mar 29, 2023
Self-Empowerment,  Climate Change, mindfulness, MBST, research

In these times of environmental uncertainty, eco-anxiety is on the rise with many not knowing what steps to take. Here are eight steps to quiet the worry and find your inner power to make real positive change.


Climate change is a pressing issue that affects us all. It is not only an environmental problem but also a mental health issue, as the fear and anxiety around the climate crisis can take a toll on our well-being. While it may feel overwhelming to tackle such a massive issue, there are steps we can take to make a difference, both in terms of sustainability and our own mental health. Mindfulness practices offer a powerful tool to achieve both.

Recent studies have shown that mindfulness practices can play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis while promoting mental health and wellness. One such study conducted by Dr. Christine Wamsler, from Lund University in Sweden, found that mindfulness practices can foster resilience and adaptive capacity in the face of climate change. Additionally, Dr. Wamsler and colleagues found that mindfulness practices can help individuals develop a deeper sense of connectedness with nature, which can lead to a greater sense of environmental responsibility and stewardship.

Mindfulness-Based Sustainable Transformation (MBST) applies mindfulness to eco-anxiety, climate grief, and climate action. Outcomes from a recent MBST program, hosted by Mindful Society Global Institute and Inner Green Deal found:

  • A 19% reduction in eco-anxiety 
  • A 27% reduction in feelings of helplessness and an increase in clarity on one's role, leading to a sense of self-efficacy.
  • A 31% reduction in material consumption and 23% reduction in waste.

Successfully piloted at EU Institutions, the MBST program leads learners to develop both the inner and outer dimensions of sustainability, which includes developing a deeper connection with nature, cultivating a sense of purpose and meaning, and taking action to reduce our environmental impact. Below, we’ve summarized key teachings of the MBST course into eight steps to enable self-empowerment amidst climate change. 

Eight steps to self-empowerment amidst climate change:

Step 1: Creating space with mindful awareness

The first step towards sustainable transformation is to create space for mindfulness practices.  By taking a few minutes each day to be mindful, we can reduce stress and anxiety, and cultivate a sense of calm and clarity that helps us make better decisions.

Step 2: The Awake Mind

Mindfulness can help us become more aware of the link between inner development and outer transformation. Through mindfulness, we can gain a better understanding of our relationship with the planet and our role in addressing the climate crisis.

Step 3: The Intelligence of Emotions

Strong emotions such as anxiety and fear can make it challenging to act sustainably, but they can also be helpful messengers filled with wisdom. Mindfulness practices, such as gratitude and body scans, can help us access this wisdom and regulate challenging emotions and cultivate a more compassionate and conscious mind.

Step 4: Understand Our Calling & Contribution

Take time to reflect and identify what calls us and what we want to bring into the world. A sense of compassion helps us understand how interconnected we all are and move towards mindful action.

Step 5: Self-efficacy and Systems Thinking

Move beyond individual habit change towards collective action. By recognizing the systemic effects that small changes can have, we can begin to see the power of our actions.

Step 6: Collaboration to Solve Complex Problems

Effective collaboration is crucial to solving complex problems such as climate change. Mindful collaboration can foster qualities such as listening and empathy, which are key to working together effectively.

Step 7: Taking Action 

Working with others to develop a concrete prototype or initiative that embodies mindfulness can lead to powerful transformations. By fostering mindful collaboration, we can create sustainable projects that embody awareness, compassion, courage, integrity, and resilience.

Step 8: Integration

Finally, it is essential to reflect on the journey and integrate our learnings. Learn how to effectively communicate our ideas and deal with other opinions while also building a movement to bring our initiatives to life.

By incorporating mindfulness practices into our daily lives and taking the steps mentioned above, we can create sustainable transformation and contribute towards a better future for our planet and ourselves.


 Michael Apollo MHSc RP is the founder of the Mindful Society Global Institute. Prior to founding MSGI in 2014, he was the Program Director of Mindfulness at the University of Toronto. He is an educator, licensed mental health clinician and certified facilitator in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.


Wamsler, C. (2018). Mindfulness in sustainability science, practice, and teaching. Sustainability Science, 13(6), 1431-1445.

Wamsler, C., Brink, E., & Rivera, C. (2018). Planning for climate change in urban areas: From theory to practice. Journal of Cleaner Production, 198, 1468-1476.

Wamsler, C., Schäpke, N., & Fraude, V. (2021). Mindfulness in sustainability science, practice, and teaching: A systematic review. Sustainability Science, 16(2), 465-484.

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