28 April 2022

What is eco-anxiety and how to deal with it?

Dramatic impact of climate change, exceeding planetary limits, collapse of biodiversity, natural disasters, deforestation… all these upheavals are completely new. And uncertainty about the future has never been greater. The feeling of distress in the face of the ecological crisis is often referred to as “eco-anxiety”, which is described as the “disease of the century”. But what is eco-anxiety?

It is a recent term, which does not stop at simple anxiety but includes a variety of emotions such as sadness, fear of the future, loss of meaning, helplessness, anger, guilt, despair. The term solastalgia, defined in 2003 by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht, is also used. It refers to a feeling of distress at the irreversible change in our environment and the pain of losing our habitat.

Eco-anxiety is often associated with young people. Although a recent study in The Lancet found that 75% of 16-25 year olds find the future “frightening”, we can all be affected.

Eco-anxiety and solastalgia are not mental pathologies. They are in fact lucid people. Charline Schmerber, a psychotherapist specialising in eco-anxiety, says: “eco-anxious people are the healthy people in a world that doesn’t know it’s crazy“. Their dismay is justified and legitimate. In the end, it may seem almost surprising that we are not, given the current circumstances and information.

We are not born eco-anxious but we become so, through an evolutionary or brutal awareness that we must tame. The plurality of problems and the complexity of the ecological crisis often reinforce this feeling of despair and powerlessness. One can feel overwhelmed by the lack of answers and solutions. At the time of awareness, many people testify to their loneliness and incomprehension, “why isn’t everyone in the street in shock, panicking”. Often there is a strong sense of disconnect and a feeling of being misunderstood.

To protect oneself from this disturbing truth, it is easier to take refuge in a form of denial, as a defence mechanism. Telling ourselves that we are not responsible, that there will be technical solutions, or just being indifferent… The change needed to fight climate change and the concrete consequences for ourselves and our children are often impossible to accept.

This is why eco-anxiety is similar to post-traumatic functioning. To know is to suffer, we preferred when we didn’t know, we want to go back to the way it was before. However, we can no longer act as if we didn’t know, and there is a kind of mourning work to do.

Anyone who has taken a close interest in the urgency of global warming is bound to “get slapped in the face” and feel the pinch in one way or another. Kübler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) can be applied to climate change.

Eco-anxious people are not necessarily fragile people. On the contrary, it takes courage and great moral strength to face the facts. Especially since accepting the truth of the ecological crisis and global warming requires a lot of emotional strength.

Fear can finally be a driving force for action. It is important to acknowledge your emotions so that they do not paralyse you. To take this eco-anxiety seriously is also to respect this awareness, this dizzying disarray in the face of present and future ecological disaster.

But doesn’t seeing the planet suffer prevent us from being happy? We share with you 10 tips from Dr Alice Desbiolles’ book – Eco-anxiety – Living serenely in a damaged world – which provides clear answers, without fatalism, for action.

1/ Knowing how to let go without giving up: Start by accepting and learning to manage your emotions. They say you have to take care of yourself to take care of others, it’s the same thing for the planet.

2/ Learn to choose and fight your battles: You must be indulgent with yourself and not increase your mental load. Do not carry everything on your shoulders as this will not solve anything.

3/ Conjugate our life to the present: Do not dwell on what we should have done or project ourselves too far into the future.

4/ Spend time into nature: We spend ¼ of our time in front of a screen, whereas reconnecting with nature is essential. There is ample evidence that outdoor activities are beneficial to any form of stress or anxiety.

5/ Desiring differently to achieve fully: Adapting to climate change will require a paradigm shift. Revisit the way we consume, the way we travel, not as a renunciation but as a new positive challenge. Changing our perspective to change our course.

6/ Take on tasks that are within our reach: Don’t aim too high so that you feel powerless, but aim for what you can do. A will to power, to want to do everything, would be too difficult to assume. Start with small things, a small act is better than a big intention.

7/ Wearing the colours of our difference: Thinking differently is not easy and it is a real challenge for those around us, it takes courage and energy on a daily basis. We must also avoid counterproductive sectarianism.

8/ Reclaiming basic skills: Feeling useful, learning to do things by oneself such as gardening, repairing, finding one’s way, understanding where things come from. Without neglecting solidarity and cooperation.

9/ Make our children and relatives aware of the virtues of nature: Accompanying our children and relatives, spending time in nature will be the best way to raise awareness. It is more important to provide kindness and empathy than to offer objects.

10/ Choose to be happy in spite of everything: Don’t stay alone. Join your friends or associations such as Montagne Verte or others. And above all, get together, surround yourself with people who share your thoughts and concerns in order to talk and exchange.

It takes strength to take the measure of the situation, be proud of it.

To go further:

Coping with climate change distress

Climate anxiety spiking: three actions could be the antidote

A guide to eco-anxiety: How to protect the planet and your mental health

Words: Alice de Chilly

10 March 2022

IPCC report: What is it and what does it say?

Let’s start at the very end, with the conclusion of the summary for decision-makers:

The cumulative scientific evidence is unequivocal: Climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”

So to summarise the summary; it’s definitely getting worse, there’s still time to fix it but we really don’t have long.

To go into a little more detail… On February 28th, the IPCC Group II report was released. The IPCC is The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or le GIEC in French) and they provide regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation. This enormous undertaking is the work of about 270 contributors which is then validated by 195 member states.

The most recent release is the second of the three parts of the 6th report, and it focuses on the impacts, adaptation and vulnerability of our planet to climate change. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has bleakly describes the report as an “atlas of human suffering”.

This report is a stark reminder that climate change is very real and very present. It’s already happening and has already caused considerable damage to both nature and people, which we can most notably see through the increase in extreme weather events. Climate change is also responsible for countless humanitarian crises and will continue to be so as 3.6 billion people live in areas highly vulnerable to the impacts of the changing climate.


The report details a review of the current and future dramatic consequences on agriculture, biodiversity, physical and mental health:

Climate change will put increasing pressure on food production and access, particularly in vulnerable regions, which will comprise food and nutrition security.

Short-term warming with increases in the frequency, severity and duration of extreme events will put many terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems at high or very high risk of biodiversity loss

The report evaluates the long and short term risks and shows that global warming, which will reach 1.5°C in the near future, will lead to an inevitable increase in many climatic hazards and present multiple risks to ecosystems.

Climate change and the extreme events it causes will significantly increase health problems and premature deaths (zoonose, dengue etc…)

The current situation is already extreme but can only be expected to get worse. One of the more painful aspects is that the countries who have contributed least to global emissions are the most vulnerable to its impacts.

The short term consequences have been divided into two phases; from 2021-2040 and from 2040-2100, and it is important to build adaptation strategies accordingly. The 1.5°C limit is repeatedly referenced throughout: it’s the limit which cannot be exceeded because once we are past it, there will be serious additional risks to many human and natural systems. It is worth noting that this limit was once thought to be  2°C but has very clearly changed to 1.5°C.

alpine glaciers are very vulnerable


Unfortunately, it’s looking bad for us too. France and Europe will not be spared. Heatwaves, droughts, agricultural loss, floods, rising water levels and so on.

There is a chapter of the report dedicated specifically to mountainous zones, detailing loss of glacier mass, reduced snow cover, thawing of permafrost, changes in seasonal rhythms, floods, landslides, impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, and increased competition for water resources.

Articles articulate well consequences like increasing cost of snow cannon, loss of snow cover, fight around water resources, landslides and loss of alpine identiy: global warming in the Alps or climate change in the mountains


This information is pretty overwhelming but it’s important to remember the future is still in our hands. However, it is absolutely imperative that we adapt and we do so now. Whilst the report recognises that there are adaptation initiatives underway, many of them prioritise immediate and short-term climate risk reduction, reducing the scope for longer term transformational adaptation.

The greatest strength of this report is that it recognises the interdependence of climate, ecosystems and biodiversity, and human societies. It makes it very clear that the focus has to be on integrated solutions across multiple sectors that address social inequalities.

The report states that “inclusive governance that prioritises equity and justice in adaptation planning and implementation leads to more effective and sustainable adaptation outcomes”.

Safety nets that support climate change adaptation have also had strong benefits for development goals such as education, poverty reduction, gender inclusion and food security.

The final part of the Summary for Policymakers shows that global level action for climate-resilient development is even more urgent than assessed in the 2014 report. Some options… cooperation, nature-based solutions, ethical and social justice…

Climate-resilient development is facilitated by international cooperation and by governments at all levels working with communities, civil society, educational bodies, scientific and other institutions, the media, investors and businesses, as well as by developing partnerships with traditionally marginalized groups, including women, youth, indigenous peoples, local communities and ethnic minorities (SPM D.2)

Climate-resilient development is enhanced when actors work in a way that is ethical, fair and conducive to reconciling divergent interests, values and worldviews for ethical and fair outcomes.

Pathways to climate-resilient development overcome jurisdictional and organisational barriers, and are based on societal choices that accelerate and deepen key system transitions.

Finally, the report places even more emphasis than before on biodiversity and the protection and restoration of ecosystems, which are essential in maintaining and building resilience.

Options to reduce climate risk and establish resilience (IPCC)
Options to reduce climate risk and establish resilience (IPCC)

Half arsed efforts are no longer an option. The extent of the impacts is already greater than expected and the window for action is closing. This report has been described as one of “the bleakest warnings yet”. However, rather than despair, this report calls for urgent and ambitious efforts, because “our actions today will determine how people will adapt to climate change and how nature will respond to increasing climate risks”.

Like all of you, we are concerned and appalled by the war in Ukraine which of course, remains a focus of the news. We are however outraged and concerned by the complete lack of media coverage on the IPCC report. Here are some links to learn more and to share, so that more people can connect with this important information!

IPCC report : summary for policy makers

IPCC report: technical summary

IPCC Sixth Assessment full report

Climate Change impacts and risks in Europe

Podcast: Understanding the latest warnings in the IPCC report

Euronews: The IPCC report proves green capitalism doesn’t work

Video: We need to talk about the latest IPCC report

5 things you need to know on IPCC report

Scientists to follow on climate change

Words: Alice de Chilly

14 December 2021



Imagine a world without transport, without cars, buses or aeroplanes. We are all reliant on some form of transport to take us to work, the supermarket, the gym, or on holiday. But how often can we cycle and leave the car at home? Walk instead of taking the bus? We increasingly live in a world where convenience is key. Meals pre-prepared for us, Amazon delivering orders the following day, an Uber taking us direct to our front door. How often do we consider the consequences of these transactions? When that television works without fault but we buy a new one with a larger screen. When we take the car to the express supermarket down the road or when we throw out food unnecessarily. Often, such actions go unchallenged because they make our lives easier, we become more efficient. We often forget or ignore the consequences that affect the world in which we live and thrive.

To that end, should we challenge ourselves? Challenge ourselves to debate our choices to consider the environment and live more sustainably. Some challenges occur in life without prior knowledge of their existence or planning. Others are carefully considered and relate to an aspect of our lives. For example, embarking on the challenge of living a healthier lifestyle. Deciding to run that marathon. Finding ways to help other people. The challenges we set ourselves are relative to an individual, the possibilities endless, and their difficulty variable.

Camille bike packing

For Camille, the challenge she set herself was to remove motorised transport from her life for 365 days. Come rain or shine (or snow), since January 2021, Camille has walked, cycled, or skied to reach her destination and back again. Forget cars, buses and aeroplanes. Imagine waking up to then cycle in the snow to get to work. Moreover, imagine the journey back home at the end of a long day. To Camille, however, “winter was actually (overall) not much different to the rest of the year” and ski pants and a jacket did the job of getting her to work warm and dry. As she recounts the experience of winter earlier this year in the French Alps, we can’t help but admire her adversity to the cold weather and how she overcame the harsh conditions! Despite the snow tyres on her bike, which provided extra grip on the road, on occasion she had to leave the bike at home and venture out with snowshoes. To put this into perspective, snowshoeing to work meant a 2-hour journey one way! Needless to say that touring became more of an activity to be enjoyed at the weekend.

We’d imagine that getting out and about in the snow on a bike or skis would be hard enough, but for Camille, the hardest part was promoting her challenge on social media which is “something I don’t take naturally to” she highlights. Publicising her efforts online to raise awareness and to gather support and funds was another challenge in itself for Camille. “I think it’s something I could have done a lot better” she confesses, “but doing the challenge alongside having a pretty full-on year meant that was unfortunately one of the first things I let slip”. With a baby on the way and buying a house, Camille’s determination to see the challenge through to the end is an inspiration to us all! Camille, we can forgive your absence on social media, especially now as you’re sharing your story.

Winter commuting

So, what made Camille decide to embark on such a challenge? Well, “I thought it would be a great experiment to see how you could adapt a ‘normal’ life around cutting out an aspect of everyday life completely, which is known to be a major contributor to global warming” she explains. Her plan is to “inspire people to take bolder moves toward changing their lifestyles to align with the need for curbing global warming”. As we’re sure you’d agree, Camille’s challenge will not only highlight how we as individuals can reduce our dependency on motorised transport, but also raise money to benefit charities in the process.

Contributions made to Camille’s gofundmepage  will be distributed amongst a number of charities and organisations, such as Montagne Verte, who are making strides in tackling the issues associated with global warming, raising awareness, changing both opinions and local/national policies for the better.

Camille’s experience over the past months has highlighted to herself and others that we can improve the way we use motorised transport, “whether it’s becoming a lot more conscientious about what we consider essential travel and being efficient in the way that we use cars, such as carpooling and avoiding multiple trips”. She emphasises how cycling has been “the perfect way to commute and travel around” this year, even touring with her bike to reach destinations further afield, with trips to Annecy, Bonneville, and St Nazaire on the West coast of France to visit her parents. However, with a reduced bus system during low season in and around the area, living in a resort can pose difficulties for inhabitants, who thus rely heavily on cars for transportation. There is a need to improve public transport in the region and discussions with local authorities and organisations are ongoing to allow for new infrastructure to be put in place, offering tourists and inhabitants the option to leave the car at home and venture out by other means that are kinder to the environment.


Whilst there are local and national initiatives to help reduce global warming, Camille highlights the need for us as individuals to change our own habits, including “cutting back more on meat consumption, being a lot more mindful about plastic and the quality of things we buy” to name a few.  Even once the 365 days come to an end, Camille will continue to pedal from place to place as much as possible, only taking the bus when she needs to, and keeping her carbon footprint as low as possible. “It’s surprised me how much of my movements this year have felt pretty easy, it’s rarely felt like a chore, and it’s kept me fit”, Camille explains. “It’s forced me to try and slow down in many aspects of my life as well”. By embarking on this challenge Camille emphasises that quite often the technology and conveniences we have access to, which were invented to save us time, tend to make us over-efficient, super productive and therefore move at a pace that is unsustainable, both for ourselves and the planet.

Changing our habits to consider the environment or embarking on a challenge to help raise awareness and funds for environmental charities, such as Camille has done so naturally, will have a positive impact towards saving our planet. We each have our part to play.

We rely so heavily on technology, conveniences, and motorised transport in our lives, but we must remember that we also rely on our planet to live happily and healthily.

Words: Katie Rutherford

21 July 2021



This month, we’re diving into the Vélo Voyage that Gillon Hunter completed in July this year to raise awareness and funds for our cause at Montagne Verte.

Gill cycled over 800km from Morzine to Arcachon, climbing 9260m in just 5 days (finishing a day earlier than originally planned) and managed to raise €1415 for Montagne Verte in the process. What a champion!

We caught up with Gill (just not out on the bike ride unfortunately), to talk about the trip and get the insider details to share with you.

We hope you find his thoughts and findings as interesting as we did.


“At first, the idea sprung from simply wanting to ride my bike more. I recently moved to Morzine (well, Montriond), and I thought “this is a great opportunity to raise some funds for an environmental cause.” To make it a real challenge I wanted to set a goal of crossing the whole of France in 5 days. After the first donation came in, there was no turning back.

As well as collecting donations, I wanted to raise awareness that it’s never ‘too far’, ‘too long’, or ‘too hard’ to ditch the car and take the bike. In the same way, it’s never too hard to take the train rather than the plane.”


“Mentally the biggest challenge was the doubt that comes into your mind before you even get started. I’d never taken on that big a physical challenge before, so I wasn’t sure how far I was capable of riding and how fast my body would recover each day. But it was just a case of breaking down the challenge into manageable chunks.

I did a fair amount of training for many months before the trip. Plenty of road miles, a bit of physio with Mountain Rehab and some Pilates with Georgie at Studio Pilates Morzine set me up well physically. Oh, and no amount of padding in your shorts can stop the pain in you know what!”


“As everyone (hopefully) knows… not only does it help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, it also helps reduce air pollution, congestion, noise, reduces the risk of heart disease, improves health, reduces stress and so on. I think you just have to look at some of the Nordic countries to see how embracing travel by bike is improving life over there.

I think e-bikes could change the way we travel locally. I would love to see Morzine invest in the infrastructure for electric bikes and docking stations, adding safer cycle lanes (from Morzine to Les Gets for example), car-free zones and partnering with other towns to move people around on bikes as much as possible. Combine that with better, bike-equipped public transport (bike racks on electric buses for example) and we’ll surely see a larger uptake in the number of people willing to leave the car at home.

Plus, riding bikes is way more fun!

But all that said, bikes alone aren’t going to fix the problems. We need a complete worldwide transport revolution if we are to meet the targets needed to limit warming. In many ways, there has never been a greater need for innovation, so we are going to see some interesting developments in our lifetime.”


“Three things – train hard, pack light, plan well.

I’ve put more time into training and conditioning this year than I ever have before. It definitely made the trip easier and more enjoyable.

I think there is always a tendency to pack more than you need. I just took an 8-litre bag with one pair of shorts, a t-shirt and some flip flops which I wore in the evening. I only had one set of cycling clothes, but don’t worry, I did hand wash them in the sink every night! I also used Palm & Pine’s plastic-free sun protection which is great (shout-out to ex-Morzine local, Sarah Muir for that).

Finally, use a good trip planner like Komoot which breaks down longer journeys into shorter day trips and helps you find accommodation and things to see/do.


“As you know, even travelling by bike isn’t completely carbon-free. You still have to account for the bike’s production emissions and the associated emissions for the extra food and drink your body uses to power the bike.

I think eating/drinking local produce is a good idea. Partly because it’s nice to discover local delicacies, but more because transportation, refrigeration and packaging of food is a big part of the problem.

I was privileged enough to stay in hotels in order to reduce the number of things I took with me. Inevitably, camping would have been lower carbon/less energy used, but more weight and more time taken to complete the trip. Although, one night I stayed in a wooden cabin in a forest which was good fun apart from nocturnal animals keeping me awake!

I try (but sometimes fail) to be environmentally mindful in every decision I make. I also donate to carbon offsetting organisations, but have a firm belief that carbon offsetting is not truly offsetting and the primary goal is to curb emissions at the source (proactive, not only retroactive strategies).

There is a company called Goodwings who claims to ‘remove the CO2 from your stay, your flight, even your meals’.

To come back to Morzine I took the train. I love train travel. It’s great for seeing more of the country and for people watching. TER and TGV trains have dedicated bike sections where you can store your bike free of charge. On TER, you can leave the bike fully built. For some TGV trains, you might need to dismantle it and put it in a bike bag. More info here: Bike on Board.”


“The list below contains lots of products that don’t come carbon-free! Where possible I try to buy the best quality/long-lasting options (I realise I am very privileged to have that choice) and follow this thinking hierarchy for my buying habits: Reduce > Reuse > Repair > Recycle.

At the risk of teaching your Granny to suck eggs, reduction/moderation of consumerism is essential (and benefits your pocket too), but if you can’t buy second-hand, buying from brands like Patagonia and Picture who are committed to more responsible manufacturing is key. Equally importantly, when transport is often as big a problem, if not an even bigger problem than raw material production, find products that travel shorter distances from the factory to your house.

The problem now is that many brands are getting on the bandwagon. Not because they are committed to reducing their environmental impact, but because they see a commercial opportunity – greenwashing is intensifying. Beware of imposters and don’t believe the marketing hype!”

● A road bike – you’ll definitely need one of those!

● A good helmet – I wear the Smith Trace featuring Koroyd

● Bike bags – I use Restrap who are trying to minimise their carbon footprint

● Padded lycra shorts and lycra t-shirt (pockets in the back are helpful)

● Lightweight waterproof – high visibility

● Sunglasses – I can confirm, a fly in your eye is no fun!

● Bike lights – definitely a rear light for safety

● Palm & Pine sun protection

● Two large water bottles

● Electrolytes – for preventing dehydration

● Snacks like flapjack – add nuts and raisins (I call this ‘Papajack’)

● Puncture kit and pump – or get a tubeless setup

● Multitool for bike fixing/maintenance

● GPS for navigation

● Lightweight clothes for evenings – shorts, t-shirt, flip flops

● Bamboo toothbrush snapped at the head (to make it smaller)

● Plasters for your feet

● Solar-powered charging dock (for your phone/lights/GPS)

Gill, you’re an inspiration to us all, cyclists or not. Congratulations on such a successful trip and thank you for your kind donation to Montagne Verte, as well as sharing your experience, tips and tricks and overall insight into your motivation for embarking on this great challenge!

To our readers, if you’re embarking on a challenge of any sort, please feel free to get in touch and tell your story. We’d love to hear more inspiring stories like Gill’s in the future.

Author: Katie Rutherford

25 September 2019


Bec Jaune Brewery is Morzine’s number one hangout for a refreshing craft ale at the end of a hot day on the hill, though last Sunday we saw a different kind of craft being served up and enjoyed by a crowd of thirsty creatives.

In a place that’s decked out with upcycled ski and bike equipment, hand-developed photographs covering the walls and arguably the best homemade menu in town, it’s difficult to sit in there and not become inspired to make ‘something’. That’s why The Bec was the perfect setting for Montagne Verte’s ‘Crafternoon’.

Everything you could possibly need to get crafty

Hands up if you’ve started a project that you’ve never finished… I’m sure I’m not the only one. It’s easy to let time slip away whilst best intentions collect dust, especially living in a town where there are so many other activities to fill your down time, and a limited number of days before the lifts shut down and summer draws to a close. Understanding this, Montagne Verte organised an event that gave people a specific time and a place to be creative, learn a skill, share a skill or work on a project that may otherwise have remained unfinished.

Various workshops were available from 3-6pm, including lessons in how to turn old socks into kitchen sponges by The Bec’s own Chrissy Jahier. Alternatively you could learn to make jewellery out of fabric offcuts and repair clothing by stitching or sewing on buttons.  Although it may sound a little ‘W.I.’, the turnout was very representative of Morzine as a whole and it was amazing to see men and women of all ages turning their hands to something new. Perhaps the diverse footfall is down to showing that creativity can also mean practicality, or perhaps it was that it also coincided with Happy Hour at The Bec.

Busy making sponges out of socks.

Whatever the motive, the reaction was incredibly positive and by the end of the day people were asking when the next ‘Crafternoon’ would be. Keep your eyes on Montagne Verte’s events page throughout autumn for updates.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help and expertise of Wania Scott (Alpine Alterations) and Alix Destain (Honest Thread), who’s local businesses are indicative of their attitudes towards recycling, upcycling and sustainability. Not only did they share their time and experience with willing participants, they also provided materials and ideas for those wanting to reuse fabric but not necessarily knowing where to start.

Honest Thread fabrics.

The idea of these Montagne Verte events is to engage the community and provide solutions. Taking a familiar aspect of day-to-day life, outlining what small changes could be made to make that life more eco-friendly and sharing the tools to do so. Though we are aware of climate change and its impact on our surroundings, we almost see it as too big and scary a monster to tackle. But there are so many small things that can be incorporated into home and work life that will make a difference. Even if it does feel like you are a tiny drop in our evaporating ocean, we need that water!

Words: Roz Tod
Photos: Samuel McMahon