Climate change: 60% of young people are ‘very worried’ about the global warming crisis, survey reveals – iNews
Young climate activists have told i they struggled to plan for their futures due to fears over the climate crisis, as a new study revealed almost 60 per cent of young people are very or extremely worried by the situation.
The study of 10,000 young people aged 16-25 found that 39 per cent said they are hesitant about having their own children in future because of the climate emergency.
Led by the University of Bath in collaboration with five other universities, the survey, which spans 10 countries, also reported that more than 45 per cent of young people said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily lives.
Dominique Palmer, a 21-year-old climate activist from north London told i that eco-anxiety had prompted her to get involved in the movement to tackle climate change.
She said: “I can relate a lot and I’m not even surprised by the results of it [the survey].
“I had so much eco-anxiety and that’s actually why I became a climate activist because of that eco-anxiety and that fear of the future, of my future and what world I was going to inherit.”
Ms Palmer said concerns about irreversible impacts of the climate crisis were being particularly felt by students who were questioning what their hard work was for.
She said one of the biggest reasons behind young people she knew joining the movement was they “just feel terrified” about the future they face.
Aside from committing to urgent climate action, Ms Palmer said countries should improve education on climate change to alleviate the fears of young people.
“First of all, climate education I think is so important. I think some uncertainty about everything definitely makes things worse, especially when young people are just seeing all of this through scrolling through social media for example and not learning about the severity of it at school necessarily,” she said.
She added: “Also providing services for young people to deal with this, so mental health support services recognising that eco-anxiety is seriously growing among young people.”
Ms Palmer also called on politicians and governments to listen to young people’s concerns.
It’s something fellow young climate activist Elijah Mckenzie-Jackson also believes would help.
“It all stems from the Government not listening to the science and not listening to the people,” he said of young people’s climate anxiety.
The 17-year-old said that worries about the climate crisis had affected his mental health and left him frightened to think about his future.
“I have actually been clinically diagnosed with depression due to my fear and my despair for the climate crisis,” he said. “I’ve found within my activism it’s a way to channel my frustration and my emotion but it’s really taking a toll on my mental health every single day I feel a sense of grief and a weight on my shoulders and I feel frightened thinking about my future.”
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has said young people should be “heartened” by the work the Government is doing to reduce emissions and address climate change.
A Government spokesperson told i: “Young people should be heartened that we were the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to climate change by 2050, and over the past three decades we have cut emissions by 44 per cent – the fastest reduction of any G7 country.
“The UK investing heavily in reducing emissions from homes and businesses, ramping up renewable energy and creating green jobs for the future – all as we are set to host vital climate talks at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow in just seven weeks’ time.”