Green gift ideas for people with climate anxiety
Photo-Illustration: Bordered; Photos: Retailers
Over the past year, even the most optimistic among us have probably experienced waves of climate-related nausea. Extreme weather events like Hurricane Ida have devastated communities. Google searches for “climate anxiety” have exploded some 565 percent. Therapists began to develop “Climate sensitive” practices.
Buying for the climate conscious is a tricky task (avoid excess plastic and anything that is single-use). But unless they bought them a tree or a generator for the whole house, what could they actually appreciate?
To find out, we consulted a handful of people actively engaged in environmental education, sustainable design or more generally the outdoors. Their suggestions range from broader themes to offer (like articles to help the recipient relax or get out) to specific products (a buckwheat yoga bolster and a recently released eco-anxiety guide). And we’ve included some unconventional gift ideas that don’t involve buying physical products at all.
“In the face of climate anxiety, I discovered that there is nothing more comforting than tapping into cycles and natural systems,” says Rosie Spinks, who writes a bulletin on how to live in a climate emergency. “A system is just you.” Spinks says that a yoga bolster is an anchor and comfort tool that one can use to downregulate when one feels anxious and to connect to the ground when in need of reassurance or restored. This one from Yogamatters is extra earthy because it’s made with organic buckwheat filling rather than polyester or other man-made materials.
Dr. Susan Clayton, professor of psychology and environmental studies at the College of Wooster, suggests donating something that contributes to a stress-reducing activity like knitting or woodworking, especially if the item is made by artisans. local rather than a multinational company. Cross stitch is a particularly gifted craft because you can find tons of kits suitable for beginners with funny designs. The Stitch Mill, a cross stitch kit and pattern maker based in Montpellier, Vermont, offers many nature themes like ferns and houseplants.
Many therapists recommend keeping a journal as a calming routine. This minimalist notebook is certified to be of sustainable origin in the United States with 30 percent recycled paper. For every purchase, Northbooks partners with Eden Projects to plant a tree in communities suffering from deforestation.
Photo: B) Jessica Lim
“Take them out – being in nature is the best medicine for anxiety,” says architect Mette Aamodt, whose firm, Aamodt / Lead, focuses on building carbon neutral homes using non-toxic materials and passive design strategies. The Parks Project, which sells a range of outdoor equipment from a enamel dinnerware set donate a portion of each sale to this well-rated mushroom-themed hammock to the National Parks Conservation Association.
Willy Blackmore, resident gardening expert at Curbed, suggests giving a propagation station like this live edged cedar stand with natural coloring. “It’s very easy to grow houseplants from cuttings,” he says. “There is something wonderful about learning how to make new plants – and it removes any negative associations with the production of houseplants on an industrial scale.”
“Basically anything that comes from Niwaki is a great gift,” says Blackmore. These Japanese carbon steel scissors are suitable for cut flowers, ikebana and light pruning in the garden.
Bird watching is another stress relieving activity worth promoting, Clayton says. Each sheet of this weatherproof notebook has blank space for a sketch or photo as well as lines for notes.
Stephanie Foo, a writer and radio producer who became Super Steward of the New York City Department of Parks in order to start working on its climatic anxiety, recommends a long-sleeved UV-protection shirt for those who would like to spend more time outdoors. This one from REI – available for women and Men – is similar to the one Foo sells out.
This window solar charger (with an easy-to-install suction cup hook) powers devices through a 10-kilowatt panel and USB port. Five percent of purchases during the holiday season will go to Native Renewables, a nonprofit that provides solar power to homes on the Navajo and Hopi reservations.
Recommended by Foo and Isaias Hernandez, a content creator using Instagram and TIC Tac for environmental education and activism, this collection of essays by Indigenous botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer reflects on the lessons we can learn from the reciprocal relationship humans have with other living things (such as asters, strawberries, and salamanders). “It does a great job in making the connection between the planet, humans and animals,” says Hernandez.
Hernandez recommends this “easy read” by psychoanalyst Anouchka Grose, published last year, for “people wishing to better understand their earthly emotions”.
This book of personal stories by Mary Siisip Geniusz, an apprentice and friend of the famous Anishinaabe ethnobotanist Keewaydinoquay Pesche, “is an excellent guide to finding edible and medicinal plants, and contains rich stories and indigenous wisdom,” by Foo.
This new book from Jared Green, editor at the American Society of Landscape Architects, highlights 35 projects around the world – homes, schools, parks, offices, and more. – which use solar, wind and geothermal energy. These include the Block Island wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island (the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States) and a prefabricated net zero solar row house project in Sweden.
A few experts consulted suggested making a donation to an environmental organization on behalf of a loved one. Foo supports tribes who practice stewardship such as Amah Mutsun Land Trust, the First Nations Development Institute, and the Indigenous land conservation.
Another idea from Aamodt: Get them a membership in Community Supported Agriculture (more about CSAs in the New York area here). “It will support regenerative agriculture, shorten the supply chain and put healthy vegetables on their plate.”