Climate anxiety is widespread among young people

2021-09-14

in Politics, Psychology, Science, The environment

Back in 2008, I wrote about the Future Leaders Survey and the gloomy views it uncovered among young people about the future of the planet.

Recently, The Lancet published a study based on a survey of 10,000 people aged 16–25 in 10 countries. It demonstrates that apocalyptic psychology is a broad-based phenomenon, not exclusively concentrated among climate change or environmental activists.

83% of those surveyed said people have failed to care for the planet; 75% that the future is frightening; 65% that governments are failing young people; and that just 31% think governments can be trusted.

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. September 14, 2021 at 8:33 pm

“The lead author, Caroline Hickman from Bath University, told BBC News: “This shows eco-anxiety is not just for environmental destruction alone, but inextricably linked to government inaction on climate change. The young feel abandoned and betrayed by governments.

“We’re not just measuring how they feel, but what they think. Four out of 10 are hesitant to have children.

“Governments need to listen to the science and not pathologise young people who feel anxious.”

The authors of the report, to be published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health, say levels of anxiety appear to be greatest in nations where government climate policies are considered weakest.

There was most concern in the global south. The most worried rich nation was Portugal, which has seen repeated wildfires.

Tom Burke from the think tank e3g told BBC News: “It’s rational for young people to be anxious. They’re not just reading about climate change in the media – they’re watching it unfold in front of their own eyes.””

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