How I stay positive as an environmental writer

March 2, 2023

Working as a freelance environmental writer is brilliant. I get to geek out about all the latest conservation and sustainability news and share those with the world through my articles, blogs and copywriting services. But it can be tough. Eco anxiety is real. It's definitely something I struggle with when a lot of my work involves thinking and writing about the immense challenges our planet is facing. Species are being lost at a catastrophic rate, governments are still approving new coal and oil projects and raw sewage is being pumped into the sea. It's easy to feel discouraged and overwhelmed by all the negatives.

But I try to have hope. I believe we have to if we are to continue making a positive impact through our careers (or just as global citizens). So, here are a few ways I try to stay positive as an environmental writer. I hope some of these tips might be helpful for you too!

Find your people

One of the things I love most about the sustainability sector is the people. My network is full of passionate, dedicated people all doing their bit to have a positive impact on the world. And it's not just conservation and environmental writers like me. There are carbon literacy trainers, campaigners and even translators who are helping to spread the word.

Surrounding myself with like-minded professionals who share my values has been incredibly motivating. For example,l I set aside time for 'freelance natters' (although you don't have to be freelance to have a chat). For me, this has been a great way of meeting inspiring people, keeping ourselves accountable and boosting each other when it all gets a bit too much.

Give back

For those of us working in the environmental field, giving back is often a key part of our business. This can be a great way to stay motivated because it helps you stay connected to the tangible impact you're having. How you give back depends on what's right for you. Think about which of the SDGs are closest to your heart, what impact you want to have and what you want to gain (if anything) from the support you offer. For example, if you're an early career consultant, offering pro bono support could help you boost your portfolio, volunteering in your local community can help you meet new people and getting involved in citizen science or grassroots conservation projects can be a great way to expand your knowledge of relevant issues. Or it might just be getting that warm and fuzzy feeling knowing you've helped someone else.

Personally, I try to give back in several ways. This includes: donating to charity, planting trees, supporting charities and taking courses to learn more about sustainability and conservation as well as getting involved in citizen science. Now I live by the sea (hooray!), I also want to get more involved in local community projects. I'm hoping to put my Marine Mammal Medic training into practice by responding to nearby BDMLR call outs and taking part in regular beach cleanups.

Look after yourself

I've found that my work as an environmental writer can have highs and lows. I've struggled with eco anxiety and sometimes I push myself too hard. It feels like there's no time to rest when we need such urgent solutions. But I keep trying to remind myself to take breaks and practice self-care. You can't help anyone if you've burned out. For me, looking after myself means getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, keeping up with my yoga and meditation, socialising with friends and connecting with nature and the ocean as much as possible.

Think about the ripple

With our planet facing so many challenges, it can feel like you're too small to make a difference. I try to focus on the ripple effect of everyone taking small actions and sharing them with our network. For example, when Emma Hewlett made conker laundry liquid, I thought I'd give it a go. Then my mum tried it too as did a few of my LinkedIn followers. It's hard to track how many people have made a positive change thanks to you. But knowing that sharing what you're up to might inspire other people to improve their habits can help keep you motivated.

Celebrate the wins

Let's face it, there are many negative aspects to working in the environmental sector. To avoid getting swept up in how overwhelming the challenges are, I try to celebrate the wins wherever possible. This might be a tiny lifestyle change I've made myself, the cumulative impact I'm having through my business or an inspiring innovation that could speed up solutions to the climate crisis.

Keep going

I'll admit that I'm not doing the above perfectly. I get overwhelmed. I feel eco anxiety. And, often, I'm not looking after myself as well as I should; only realising too late when my batteries are worn down. But I'm committed to trying to stay motivated and focus on the positives. Because we ARE making progress in the sustainability sector. The sea change we've seen in recent years is so inspiring. I'm going to remind myself to keep checking this list to make sure I continue to stay positive and committed to having a tangible impact through my work as an environmental writer and my own lifestyle choices.

I'd love to hear any tips on how you stay motivated and positive in the face of the climate crisis.

Ready to chat?


Great to hear you're interested in working together - I'm always keen to hear about exciting new stories from marine conservationists, potential commissions from editors and suitable briefs from prospective clients.

So, let's chat. You can send me an email (I aim to respond within three working days, usually sooner) or book a call below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Melissa holding a ginger cat and standing on a wooden balcony with the blue ocena behind her

Please note: due to high demand, I often have a wait time for new clients and cannot guarantee last-minute availability.

As such, please give as much notice as possible for your projects. Thank you!

Or book a call:

I do not work with the fossil fuel industry. If that's you, please look for support elsewhere. Thank you.

The Ocean Writer Ltd. Registered company number: 14772669

Black text on a white background reading Proudly Supporting Project Seagrass. There are green circles swirling around the word project

I support Project Seagrass by donating 1% of every cleared payment from my services via Work for Good

N.B. I do not work with the fossil fuel industry. If that's you, please look for support elsewhere. Thank you.

Wind powered Green Hosting
Banner readers ABSW (Association of British Science Writers) member 2023