The project team had begun their work with an acknowledgement that the Memramcook-Tantramar community has experienced a number of climate change driven events such as storms, floods, and power outages. Given this history, residents expressed a variety of climate stress. With this base of understanding, EOS set out to better understand climate stress and anxiety broadly, before conducting an investigation into its effects on residents in Memramcook-Tantramar. In order to gain a more robust understanding of climate-related stress and anxiety, EOS reviewed a variety of literature including documents created by reputable environmental non-profit organizations and academic journals focused in the area of psychology. EOS, in partnership with a student from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, then conducted a public survey on climate stress and anxiety locally. Though the sample size (97) was not large enough to be representative of the whole of the Sackville area (in which Memramcook-Tantramar is located), respondents represented a variety of age groups and neighbourhoods. A majority expressed worry and concern related to climate change, with many experiencing associated negative emotions such as frustration, anger, anxiety, and hopelessness.
EOS faced two major challenges related to their above efforts to come to a deeper understanding of climate-related stress, both of which are attributed to funding constraints. Firstly, while the project team intended on undertaking and publishing a comprehensive literature review, an abridged version was undertaken, as described above. Further, initial attempts were made to engage with staff at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to conduct an in-depth survey of area residents on the impacts of climate change on their mental health, however, limited funding from UNB meant this level of information gathering was not possible.