Taking a Break from Saving the World
A Conservation Activist’s Journey from Burnout to Balance
“The climate crisis is an overwhelming phenomenon and eco-activist Stephen Legault knows all about that. He’s been a burnout casualty a number of times and seeks solutions for the malaise, knowing people can’t be effective politically unless they take care of themselves. He has recommendations on everything from diet to organizational restricting – leaves of absence, anyone? Think about it.” – NOW Magazine Toronto
Professional conservation and political activist Stephen Legault examines the consequences of overwork in the “save the world” movement.
A veteran of burnout himself, Legault looks at the culture of self-sacrifice that permeates the work done by volunteers and paid staff in the environmental conservation movement, and dissects how to manage our own time, energy, and commitment to our causes. Following a river-running metaphor, and proposing a variety of techniques to help with various states of anxiety resulting from burnout, including clarity of purpose, recognition of limits, fitness and diet, mediation and yoga, as well as organizational structural changes such as leave-of-absence policies, Legault encourages readers to find time to “eddy out”—to rest a moment in quieter waters and scout downriver—to ensure our lifetime of engagement is fulfilling, effective, and self-sustaining.
Just as with teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, paramedics, steelworkers, students, and airline pilots, burnout is a growing concern in many social-change circles. Taking a Break from Saving the World takes a look at the impacts of eco-anxiety, over-work, and the associated stress surrounding the present and future state of the environment and offers practical and insightful suggestions on how to deal with it.