The kids are not alright. And neither is the climate, hence the aforementioned conundrum.
According to a global study surveying people from the ages of 16 to 25, over half of young people are experiencing “profound psychologist distress” regarding climate change and their governments’ inaction when it comes to combatting the crisis.
45 percent of respondents also reported that the subsequent anxiety and stress they experience as a result affects their life on a daily basis, while a whopping three-quarters expressed that they feel the “future is frightening.”
What’s more, 64 percent of young people believe the government isn’t doing its due diligence in preventing climate change, while nearly two-thirds actually feel “betrayed” by their governments’ inaction. 61 percent asserted that their government was not protected them, Planet Earth, or future generations.
“Such high levels of distress, functional impact and feelings of betrayal will inevitably impact the mental health of children and young people.” Getty Images/iStockphoto
The study is reportedly the first large-scale research of its kind, and led by the UK’s University of Bath in collaboration with the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, Innovation in Global Health, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and others. The study surveyed 10,000 people from the ages of 16 and 25 from 10 different countries: United Kingdom, Finland, France, United States, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, India, Philippines and Nigeria, and is currently under peer review at Lancet Planetary Health, according to CNBC.
“Such high levels of distress, functional impact and feelings of betrayal will inevitably impact the mental health of children and young people,” the study authors wrote, adding that while climate anxiety is not technically a mental illness on its own, “the realities of climate change alongside governmental failures to act are chronic, long term and potentially inescapable stressors; conditions in which mental health problems will worsen.”
Bath University’s Caroline Hickman, co-lead author of the study, also 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.”
“Now is the time to face the truth, listen to young people, and take urgent action against climate change.” Getty Images/iStockphoto
“Governments need to listen to the science and not pathologise young people who feel anxious,” she continued, adding that climate anxiety is a “completely rational reaction given the inadequate responses to climate change they are seeing from governments.”
Meanwhile Liz Marks, fellow co-lead author, asserted that it was “shocking to hear how so many young people from around the world feel betrayed by those who are supposed to protect them.”
“Now is the time to face the truth, listen to young people, and take urgent action against climate change,” she warned.