Past event

Eco-anxiety Café with Guide Dogs

Eco-anxiety Cafés are designed to be a thinking and feeling space where people can freely talk through their worries about climate change. Staff, students and community members are all welcome. This time will be a little different…we will have guide dogs present.

The Climate Psychology Alliance describes eco-anxiety as "worry or stress caused by thinking about climate change, our relationships with nature, and surrounding issues". Eco-anxiety is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue in the modern world, and can encompass emotions such as anxiety, stress, grief, depression and denial associated with climate change.

A University-wide survey conducted in April 2021 found that more than 50 per cent of the 364 participants (students and staff) thought about climate change or environmental issues every day, with 88 per cent thinking about these issues at least every week. 'Discussion' was the third most popular response to what methods participants felt helped to alleviate their eco-anxiety (after personal actions and climate change activism), and it is this method of relief that the Eco-anxiety Cafés focus on.

The Eco-anxiety Cafés, a collaboration between the Rector's Committee and Transition University of St Andrews, were first set up in March 2021 in response to the survey and a Facebook poll in February 2021 through which almost 200 students reported that they had experienced some level of eco-anxiety during their time at University, and many felt unable to do something about it.

Having been online during the pandemic, we are now able to run the cafés in-person, facilitated by members from the Rector's Committee, Transition St Andrews and the Environment Subcommittee, approximately every other Wednesday, from 5pm to 6pm, in the Student Union. Currently, some of the cafés are smaller, more intimate discussions, and some sessions are larger, depending on demand. We have run five in-person cafés so far, including a COP26-themed event, and plan to run more this semester, including a University-specific and craftivism café.

Pets have been shown to improve mental health in a number of ways, from emotional support animals to even looking at photos of cute pets. Playing with pets can promote relaxation and stress relief, and some people find that it can help to reduce anxiety. They can provide companionship and affection for those who may find it difficult to socialise, especially in group settings. So, with this in mind, the next café will be a collaboration with University of St Andrews Guide Dog Society.

Please complete an online form if you would like to attend this Eco-anxiety café, and head to our Facebook event for more info. If you are uncertain about attending... let the dogs convince you!

More information on this event