Global Survey of Climate Anxiety in Young People Confirms Link with Government Inaction on Climate Change

Last night (Australian time) a groundbreaking new global survey* of climate anxiety in children and young people was launched.

The study of 10,000 young people (16-25years) from 10 countries, found that:

  • 56% of surveyed young people said “humanity was doomed” due to climate change (including 50% of Australian respondents).
  • 75% said the “future is frightening” because of climate change (76% of Australians).
  • 83% said “people have failed to care for the planet” (81% of Australians).
  • 55% believe they will have “less opportunity than their parents” because of climate change (57% of Australians).
  • 52% said their “family security would be threatened” (48% of Australians).
  • 39% said they were “hesitant to have children” (43% of Australians)

Graphs of the country breakdowns of this data can be viewed here.

The most significant finding of the survey is the relationship found between feelings of climate anxiety and government inaction on climate change. Report author, Dr. Caroline Hickman, says “What we didn’t know when we started this research, was that there would be such a strong correlation between climate anxiety and government inaction.”

When asked if governments are doing enough to avoid a climate catastrophe, 64% of young people surveyed said no.

Further, a shocking 58% said that governments are betraying them.

Greta Thunberg has said in response to the study: “Young people all over the world are well aware that the people in power are failing us. Some people will use this as another desperate excuse not to talk about the climate – as if that was the real problem. In my experience, what’s making young people feel the worst is the opposite – namely the fact that we are ignoring the climate crisis and not talking about it.” (Avaaz.org)

Nigerian Climate Activist Jennier Uchendu says, “When you have the top world leaders not prioritizing this problem, it feels like a massive slap in the face.” (Avaaz.org)

To watch the full launch recording.
A preprint of the paper, to be printed in The Lancet, can be viewed here.

 

If you are looking for resources to help your children and young people cope with climate anxiety, start here. 

 

*Study citation: Hickman, Caroline and Marks, Elizabeth and Pihkala, Panu and Clayton, Susan and Lewandowski, Eric R. and Mayall, Elouise E. and Wray, Britt and Mellor, Catriona and van Susteren, Lise, Young People’s Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3918955 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3918955

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