Young people worldwide are pessimistic about the future of humanity due to global climate change and believe that governments are not doing enough to solve this problem, a study published in the scientific journal The Lancet Planetary Health shows.
The survey involved 10 thousand respondents aged 16 to 25 years from Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, India, Nigeria, Portugal, USA, Philippines, Finland and France. The study was conducted in May-June by an international team of scientists, including experts from Stanford University.
Nearly 60% of those surveyed indicated that they are “very” or “extremely” concerned about climate change, and 45% said their feelings about the issue affect their daily lives. About two-thirds of respondents say their governments are not doing enough to prevent a climate catastrophe, with 58% feeling that the authorities are “betraying me and / or future generations.”
Three-quarters of those who took part in the survey admitted that the future scares them (“the future is frightening”), and 56% believe that “humanity is doomed.”
“Our children’s anxiety is a perfectly rational response given the inadequate response to climate change they see from their governments,” notes Caroline Hickman of the University of Bath, one of the study’s authors.
Global citizens under the age of 25 roundly believe that governments are letting them down when it comes to an aggressive handling of global warming and dangerous weather – and they’re fed up with being told to meditate to cope.
“I grew up being afraid of drowning in my own bedroom,” said Mitzi Tan, a 23-year-old from the Philippines, who was featured in the study’s report. The query included 10,000 participants aged 16 to 25 across 10 countries: the U.S., the U.K., France, Finland, Australia, Portugal, India, Nigeria, the Philippines and Brazil.
“Society tells me that this anxiety is an irrational fear that needs to be overcome — one that meditation and healthy coping mechanisms will ‘fix,’” Tan said. “But that erases the accountability from those who are directly causing this fear. At its root, our climate anxiety comes from this deep-set feeling of betrayal because of government inaction. To truly address our growing climate anxiety, we need justice.”
Nearly two-thirds of young people said their governments were not doing enough to avoid a climate catastrophe, and 58% felt governments were “betraying me and/or future generations.”
Study authors contributed from the University of Bath, New York University Langone Health, Stanford University, the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and other academic institutions. They stressed the significance of the anxiety survey’s reach across several regions of the world.
In the U.S. alone, 2021 featured the hottest July ever recorded, the largest wildfire in California history amid a series of fires, and deadly Hurricane Ida’s devastating winds and flooding from the Gulf Coast up through parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.