Home Youth activism Climate change causes severe ‘psychological distress’ in adolescents and young adults

Climate change causes severe ‘psychological distress’ in adolescents and young adults


A recent international study concluded that young people are experiencing “high levels of psychological distress” due to climate change and government inaction in the face of the growing crisis.

Almost half of the young people surveyed, 45%, said that anxiety and stress related to this problem affects their daily life and functioning.

The study authors interviewed 10,000 young adults and adolescents between the ages of 16 and 25 in 10 different countries, including the United States, Australia, India, Nigeria and the Philippines.

They found that three-quarters of young people think “the future is frightening” and that 65% of them think their governments are not doing enough to tackle disasters that will be exacerbated by climate change.

“This study paints a horrific picture of pervasive climate anxiety among our children and youth,” said Caroline Hickman, study co-lead author, professor and researcher at the University of Bath in the UK.

Described as the first large-scale study on climate anxiety, it has been assisted by human rights activists, academics and mental health experts, including Dr. Eric Lewandowski, associate clinical professor at the University of New York. York. It was funded by AVAAZ, a US nonprofit that promotes global activism, and is expected to be published in the Lancet Planetary Health.

“This suggests for the first time that high levels of psychological distress among young people are linked to government inaction,” Hickman said. “The anxiety of our children is a very rational response, given the inadequate responses to climate change that they see from governments. What more do governments need to hear in order to act? “

Buildings near the parish of Lafourche in Louisiana were submerged by Hurricane Ida on September 3. (Jonathan Ernst / Pool / Reuters)

As climate change contributes to deadly weather events, more and more organizations are stepping up to fight it. Quill Robinson, vice president of government affairs for the American Conservation Coalition, a conservative rights organization, tries to mobilize young people around market-based environmental action. “Sadly,” he said, “I’m not surprised that young people are so concerned and afraid of climate change.

“Young and old, we have to tell a factual story about climate change, you know,” he added. “The world won’t end in 12 years, it won’t end in 20 years, it won’t end in 100 years, but we have to act. I think empowerment is really the key word here, and something we need to focus on rather than fear. “

The survey comes at a time when young people are making their voices heard on climate change. A youth-led “global climate strike”, with rallies planned in thousands of cities, is scheduled for Friday.

Greta Thunberg, the famous teenage climate activist, was quoted in the study, saying: “Young people around the world are well aware that we lack those in power.


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