A new global survey illustrates that youth are very anxious about climate change. Many of those questioned perceive that they have no future, that humanity is doomed, and that governments are failing to respond adequately. Many feel betrayed, ignored and abandoned by politicians and adults. Young people are confused by governments failure to act.
- Nearly 60% of young people approached said they felt very worried or extremely worried.
- More than 45% of those questioned said feelings about the climate affected their daily lives.
- Three-quarters of them said they thought the future was frightening.
- Over half (56%) say they think humanity is doomed.
- Levels of anxiety appear to be greatest in nations where government climate policies are considered weakest.
- Two-thirds reported feeling sad, afraid and anxious. Many felt fear, anger, despair, grief and shame – as well as hope.
- One 16-year-old said: “It’s different for young people – for us, the destruction of the planet is personal.”
- “We’re not just measuring how they feel, but what they think. Four out of 10 are hesitant to have children,” say the researchers. This says a lot for the depth of concern for the future they face.
It’s rational for youth to be anxious
Tom Burke of E3G, an independent European climate change think tank with a global outlook told BBC News: “It’s rational for young people to be anxious. They’re not just reading about climate change in the media – they’re watching it unfold in front of their own eyes.”
This anxiety cannot be interpreted as teenage angst or emotional immaturity. 16-26 year-olds are worried about the future of the planet and the lives they will lead. They see climate change with the same existential dread a soldier might feel when going into battle. They are on the front lines. They want their leaders to do a lot more about it.
Peak Sustainability Group is working with small cities, municipalities, businesses, educational institutions, and ports regarding climate change planning. Engage community, examine alternatives, prioritize actions, and build a resilient roadmap for the future. Build strategies that address future unpredictability due to the impacts and risks from a changing climate. We can help you plan, strategize, and initiate your climate plan.