By: Ryan Oswald, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
cientists have been warning the world about climate change for decades, and world leaders have been reluctant to acknowledge these warnings.
A new survey, held by the University of Bath in the UK, asked 10,000 young people in 10 different countries, ages 16-25, how they felt about climate change. The countries were the UK, the US, Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Portugal.
Young people feel angry and worried about the future of the climate. It is a future they feel should’ve been prevented or aided by older generations.
58% of respondents said that they feel the government is betraying future generations and are failing younger people, and 33% say that governments aren’t protecting them.
Overall, 75% of respondents say that “the future is frightening.” In some countries, that percentage was even higher. In Portugal, it was 81%, and in the Philippines, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, it was 92%.
Additionally, 45% said that they worry that climate change is affecting their daily lives. 55% say that they feel they would have fewer experiences in life as adults than their parents.
Dr. Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, an associate professor of Social Sciences and Humanities at Yale NUS College in Singapore, tells Medical News Today that “most countries are gerontocracies, controlled by individuals in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. These generations tend to be less concerned about climate change, and these leaders, who came of age at a very different time, may not fully understand the full gravity of the climate crisis.”
He hopes that the younger generation can use a stronger voice to make sure that action is taken immediately.
From this survey, the term eco-anxiety came to light. Eco-anxiety is used to describe chronic to severe anxiety related to humans’ relationship with the environment.
Although it’s been studied since 2007, doctors cannot consider it a diagnosable condition. However, mental health professionals do use the term eco-anxiety within the field of ecopsychology, a branch that deals with an individual’s psychological relationships with the rest of nature and how it affects their identity.
Anxiety around environmental disasters can come from being at risk of, or having been in, an emotionally scarring disaster, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and wildfires. Media coverage can sometimes be overwhelming and contribute to individuals’ anxiety and worry that they don’t do enough for the environment.
The survey also suggested that some of the older generation feel guilty about the impact of their generation’s behavior on the environment and future generations.