Turning Despair Into Positive Actions

National responses from Government level as well as grassroots level are required to ensure full participation in the implementation of policy and strategies around human wellbeing and climate action. This is essential as top-down strategies can often lead to a mismatch between national and more context specific adaptation measures, required at local level. The response required commits policymakers, legislators and regulators to provide provisions that allow the public to transition justly in making healthier decisions e.g. safest fuel and transport measures should be favoured and promoted through appropriately aligned policy implementation.

Community Climate Action

It is widely recognised that communities should be at the centre of the response to climate disruption. To bring communities along the national decarbonisation journey while ensuring a just transition, policy measures, training and open dialogue will be essential in assisting this.

The National Dialogue on Climate Action (NDCA) allows for public engagement for input on the most recent climate action plans set out by the Government. It also allows for structures and information flows to facilitate members of the public to deliberate on, and form consensus around, future climate based responses.

Individual Choices

Decisions made at an individual level, based on climate change action, influence the health and wellbeing of ourselves and the community around us. Some of these choices may include the fuel we use or the way we manage our waste etc. The Live Green page on the EPA website was set up as a collaborative public information resource to guide individuals on how to take action in making healthier and more sustainable choices (EPA, 2019).

Mindfulness courses have been discussed by the American Psychological Association as a recently new approach in tackling feelings of disempowerment, anxiety and despair felt by society in response to the climate crisis. This practice has also been acknowledged as a way to enhance connection to the natural world and increase sustainable behaviour and has been successfully used, for this purpose, amongst different environmental NGOs in Ireland over the last few years. 
The National Parks and Wildlife Service facilitate mindfulness walks throughout the year in the Wicklow Mountains National Park and their timetable can be found here. The national Health Service Executive (HSE) also acknowledge this approach and incorporates it into its mental health service.
To find out about environmental health services available at local level, please see the Health Service Executive website here. To find out more about available services from the health and wellbeing division in the Health Service Executive, please click here.

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