A study conducted in 10 countries revealed that young people are very anxious due to the climate crisis.
60 percent of the youth surveyed described themselves as “very worried” or “extremely worried”. And 45 percent said that climate change is affecting their daily lives.
Two-thirds of young people think they have a frightening future, and 56 percent think that disasters await humanity.
“This is very different for us, we see the destruction of the planet as a personal problem,” says a 16-year-old teenager who participated in the study.
10 thousand people aged 16-25 participated in the study, which was carried out by the University of Bath in England together with universities in Finland, the USA and England, funded by the research cluster called Avaaz, and which is stated to be the most comprehensive survey in this field.
The countries where the research was conducted are England, Finland, France, USA, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, India, Philippines and Nigeria.
The feeling of ‘futurelessness’
According to the research, young people think that there is no future waiting for them.
In the research, it is stated that chronic tension caused by climate change can lead to physical and mental problems. It is reported that the increase in multi-climate events may exacerbate these problems.
A valuable proportion of young people say politicians and adults have been betrayed, ignored, and left alone.
Researchers say that governments’ failure to act on this issue “stuns the youth.”
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Speaking to the BBC, Caroline Hickman, lead author of the research report from the University of Bath, said: “This research shows that ecological anxiety is not caused by environmental destruction alone, but that the failure of governments to act on climate change is an integral part of these panics,” she adds.
“We asked young people not only about their feelings, but also their intentions: Four out of 10 young people are reluctant to have children.
“Governments should listen to the science and realize that youth anxiety is not caused by a disease.”
The authors of the study, which will be published in the Lancet Planetary Health journal, say the countries with the highest levels of anxiety are those where governments are thought to be doing the least to curb the climate crisis.
‘It is rational for young people to be anxious’
Speaking to the BBC, Tom Burke from the think tank e3g said: “It is rational for young people to be worried. They don’t just read the news about climate change in the media, these are events that are happening right before their eyes.”
The authors believe that governments’ failure to address climate change can be considered atrocities compared to existing human rights regulations.
In Portugal, six youths have filed lawsuits against their government on these grounds.
Researchers say the level of tension in teens affects them.
“I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to live in a world where children and animals are not cared for,” said one of the young people surveyed.