Eco-Anxious Enneagram
Social Graphics

Motivation mobilizes

The enneagram model is useful here because it provides a framework for thinking about how different people interact with the world around them. What feels stressful to one personality might be framed as an exciting challenge for another. Different personalities have different primary emotions about climate change, and I think this gives us a chance to think about what healthy growth, or a sustainable response to the climate crisis, might look like for each number.

Eco-anxiety and the Ennegram

I’m excited to share a little passion project looking at eco-anxious stories through the lens of the enneagram! Come along for an exploration of the 9 types as archetypes in our collective climate narrative. Enjoy!

I’ve been working on this eco-anxious enneagram piece off and on for a number of years, and I was getting read to share these graphics just before my Mom passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago. She was always my biggest supporter and took time to understand what I am trying to do with this platform. I want to dedicate this series to her, as a small thanks for the formative role she played in my life. Love you Mom! – Rachel

Calling all Eco-Anxious Enneagram Nerds!

Our much-anticipated series is finally here. Today we are kicking off a project that is a few years in the making, using the framework of the enneagram to analyze archetypal eco-anxious stories.

If you’re new to the enneagram, head over to the Enneagram Institute and check it out (or simply follow @rudeassenneagram on Instagram for hilariously scathing memes). This personality model is all about motivations and core values – the kind of stuff that is directly related to how we interpret the climate crisis.

 

Asking the Types about Climate Change

As an ennea-nerd myself, I’ve been super keen to explore how each number in the model might relate to eco-anxiety. Given that each number looks different under stress and in health, what might we learn about healthy ways to sustain engagement with the climate movement?

I started doing informal research within my circle of friends, and the enneagram nerds in their lives, asking questions like:

  • “How does climate change make you feel?” “When you think about climate change, what comes to mind?”
  • “What advice would you recommend for engaging your number in climate action?”
  • “What does a meaningful response to the climate crisis mean to you?”

There were so many gems in these conversations, and I’m finally finding the time to begin sharing some of what I’ve learned.

If you’re new to the Enneagram as a model of personality, it might help to get some background on how these numbers reflect different psychological orientations, particularly as it relates to our core motivations and personal growth. The Type labels I’ve chosen for this little project come from the Enneagram Institute, but there’s great work from Helen Palmer and Beatrice Chesnut.

Eco-Anxious Enneagram Stories

I’m always thinking in stories, and it’s helpful for my brain to organize what I’ve learned about about each type according to a narrative arch. Authors who write about the enneagram talk about how each of us have all of the types within us, but we have a dominant type. Through this lens, each “arch-type” on the enneagram is like a different character in our collective story about the climate crisis. By looking at how your number reacts to different climate stressors and opportunities for engagement, you might learn something about your own eco-anxious story.

The enneagram model is useful here because it provides a framework for thinking about how different people interact with the world around them. What feels stressful to one personality might be framed as an exciting challenge for another. Different personalities have different primary emotions about climate change, and I think this gives us a chance to think about what healthy growth, or a sustainable response to the climate crisis, might look like for each number.

 

Share your own type analysis

Those who feel identified with a certain number already might enjoy checking out this series to gain some insight into their character’s pain points, their “truth moment” in the story, and the calls to action that best align with their type’s super-powers.

Of course this is all my own opinion, based on a handful of years of nerding out about the enneagram with my pals Sophia Bezoplenko, Danice Carlson-Malena, Beth Carlson-Malena, and many more. I’d love to find out if this resonates, and what you might add to our understanding of your number.

 

A narrative arch for each type

Here’s an overview of what I’ve distilled for each type. (Shout-out to my creative partner and good friend, Molly Seaton-Fast from Arcana Creative, for creating the graphics for this series!

First off, we introduce the archetype and the perspective that this type might bring to the problem of climate change. Next, we look at what this character typically wants, the driving motivation for their choices day-to-day. We’ve included a quote about climate change from someone who identifies with each type. This helps bring some of the key themes of the archetypes to life. (For ennea-nerds, watch for themes from each archetype’s line of disintegration here).

Each type on the enneagram has a particular journey of healing and growth. It involves coming to terms with some hard truths, the shift from a typical stress response to a more integrated response. We illuminate what this eco-anxiety “moment of truth” might look like for each number.

This moment of truth helps transition the story from Act 1, where the character pursues what they want – to Act 3, where the character discovers what they need. We do the same for each ennea-type when considering sustainable ways to engage with the climate crisis. (Enneagram nerds may see themes from each archetype’s line of integration here).

Lastly, we look at a couple of action items for each archetype – a “moral of the story” based on this number’s strengths and susceptibilities. And because meaningful climate action is always a collective endeavour, we’ve added a few tips for people who are trying to engage with this number. It’s not often, as a climate organizer, that you know the enneagram type of each of your potential collaborators, but by browsing the tips for each number, you might get a more fullsome picture of how to engage different kinds of people.

Browse by type

All of our Eco-Anxious Enneagram graphics are going up on Instagram and Twitter this week, and I’ve also created a set of graphics for each number. Learn more about your number and let us know what you think!

Feeling Centre

Type 2

Type 3

Type 4

 

Thinking Centre

Type 5

Type 6

Type 7

 

Instinctual Centre

Type 8

Type 9

Type 1

A note from Rachel

I conducted a number of interviews to gather enough data to make sense of this series, and these graphics really only scratch the surface of all we could share. It takes a while to put these pieces together, so I’d love to know if this is something folks are interested in seeing/hearing. And if you know your type and want to share your own eco-anxious enneagram story, please get in touch!

Huge thanks to everyone who has taken the time to speak to me on this. Can’t wait to hear others’ interpretations.