Climate Anxiety Widespread Among Young People

April 1, 2023

Nothing wrong with the kids.

CBS News:

A study published last year collected attitudes about climate change from 10,000 people across the world, aged 16-25. 

In the survey, 59% of youth and young adults said they were very or extremely worried about climate change and more than 45% said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.  

“So, they know that the world is going to get to be a harder, darker, scarier place,” said Schwartz. “And imagining themselves in that world feels really scary for them.”   

The study also revealed how climate change makes young people feel. In all countries surveyed, nearly 62% said they were anxious about climate change. About 67% said they were sad and afraid.  

Schwartz said activism may be an effective way for kids to deal with the feelings associated with climate anxiety.

“Higher climate change anxiety is correlated with higher clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety,” said Schwartz. “But what we saw was that for young people who have high levels of climate anxiety, if they also have high levels of activism, then we didn’t see any higher levels of depression symptoms.”

Schwartz said the social aspect and peer support of activism is most likely the biggest piece to help protect against depression.

“That may mean signing petitions,” said Schwartz. “That may mean supporting other people who are the ones who are going to be the face of, you know, who are going to be going marching up to Beacon Hill over there,” said Schwartz. “So, I think the idea of working with a group.”

It could also mean building a “pop-up park” together in Chelsea, like the kids at GreenRoots have done. 


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