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People with banners protest as part of a climate change march
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer
Young people worldwide are feeling chronic stress about the climate crisis, a new study shows. The largest study on young people’s climate anxiety to date surveyed thousands of 16 to 25-year-olds from the UK, Finland, France, US, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, India, the Philippines, and Nigeria. It found that young people are worried about the future and upset and confused about government inaction. Nearly 60% of those surveyed said they felt very worried or extremely worried; 65% said that governments are failing young people; and almost as many said governments are lying about the impact of their actions. Furthermore:
More than 45% said feelings about the climate affected their daily lives
56% think humanity is doomed
66% reported feeling sad, afraid and anxious
Other prevalent emotions included fear, anger, despair, grief, shame, and hope
The study was released on a pre-publication basis but is still under peer review.
Why This Matters: This study is the first to show a direct link between young people’s concerns and government inaction and is the most far-reaching in scope. There’s plenty of reason to feel worry, frustration, and anxiety — none of the world’s biggest economies have a climate plan that will meet their Paris Agreement targets, meant to keep global temperature rise under 1.5 degrees and prevent devastating impacts.
Lead author Caroline Hickman from Bath University told The Guardian, “Our children’s anxiety is a completely rational reaction given the inadequate responses to climate change they are seeing from governments. What more do governments need to hear to take action?”
The Climate Anxiety/Climate Lawsuit Connection
Many young people are upset about their government’s response to climate change and have started taking their concerns to court. As Grist wrote: “The results lend credence to lawsuits in which young people have taken their governments to court over climate change, arguing that political leaders have failed to protect their futures and their right to a healthy environment.”
Young people from Peru and Portugal have taken their countries to court and in Germany, youth activists won a rewrite of the country’s emissions laws after arguing they were too vague. In the US, the Juliana case, which claims the government’s climate-damaging actions violated young people’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, remains in settlement negotiations.
Researchers from the National University of Singapore used data from more than 1,000 twin siblings to evaluate their opinions about environmental policy. They found identical twins were more likely to have similar views on green policy than non-identical twins, suggesting that support for climate action may have a genetic component. Felix Tropf, a professor in […]
Last month, 50,000 images from 90 countries entered National Geographic’s 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Among the many breathtaking photos of a living planet fighting against climate change, a winner has finally been chosen. French underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta has been awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 for his photo of […]
The Fossil Fuel Resistance is in Washington, D.C. October 11-15, 2021#PeopleVsFossilFuels pic.twitter.com/BsnJsujRFe — Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) (@CJAOurPower) October 11, 2021 On Monday, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, hundreds of people marched to the White House to demand the President and Congress step up efforts to combat climate change. The rally was organized by the Build Back Fossil […]
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