So, the world is on fire. Australia’s forests are burning, sea levels are rising, and the ozone layer is crumbling. But in a world where our air is becoming polluted, are our social media feeds also too toxic to handle?
If you are on Instagram you are sure to have the many upsetting images of the Australian bush fires. Pictures of koalas and kangaroos covered in smoke can only break your heart. Along with the pictures, there are countless online articles citing how we, as humanity, are failing our planet. Facts and figures pop up on my feed daily as i scroll, telling me how terrible the world is and how we are all doomed. It’s enough to make anyone feel low and hopeless.
Of course, we can’t ignore the problem. Climate change deniers and ignorance are the reasons we’re in this mess in the first place. Social media has given a platform to the likes of Greta Thunberg to share her story globally. For those who are interested or concerned about the world, and who may follow activists or information accounts, the Instagram algorithm will show them more posts and pictures concerning climate change. For some, this may become overwhelming. For others, this can lead to anxiety regarding the future and make social media a negative, harmful place for them. But is it right to detox from the word, when it’s our job to take care of it? For me, the answer was yes.
There is nothing shameful about taking care of yourself. A year ago, I unfollowed every model and celebrity I was following. I curated my feed to create a space where I wasn’t comparing myself to supermodels every time I logged on. Now, I follow wellness gurus, celebrities who post funny or wholesome content and people who make me feel good. The same can be done in regards to activism. If you are dedicated to your cause and truly care about the environment, then creating a more comfortable space for yourself on social media won’t detriment your work. In fact, it will make you feel more at ease. The information is there if you want to look for it. Watch the news, tune into the radio. You can stay updated without being swarmed by negativity. You can try make the world a better place without compromising your wellbeing.
In a world that may feel hopeless and negative, it’s so important to remember the good. Look at some puppy videos, read some inspiring quotes and browse through memes. You can’t take care of the world if you don’t take care of yourself first.
By Isobel Tiernan