7 out of 10 young people suffer from climate anxiety: are you one of them?
29 AUGUST '22
Words by Varnika Srivastava
Photo by Yelena Odintsova
Let us first start with defining what climate anxiety is. When one realizes the entire scope of the climate and broader ecological problem, they may experience a range of emotions known as climate anxiety. As the name suggests, anxiety is undoubtedly a part of it, but researchers and mental health professionals also think that other co-occurring emotions are a part of what it means to experience climate anxiety. For instance, we can express our worry for the planet through challenging and demanding emotions like grief, fury, helplessness, hopelessness, sorrow, and similar ones.
Coping with climate anxiety is not easy. But the first step to dealing with climate anxiety might be to understand that you are not alone. In fact, it is estimated that almost 75% of young people (16-25 years) had faced climate anxiety to varying degrees. People are becoming more and more concerned about the state of the Earth, especially the younger generations. While being concerned about the situation is appropriate and acceptable, climate anxiety may be crippling and, if left untreated, can negatively impact our mental health as a whole or even result in forms of PTSD.
A potential way to reduce climate anxiety is knowing that every small bit counts. From using a reusable water bottle, to only promoting sustainable brands, to reducing meat consumption, every small step that you take is a step in the right direction. Doing something on your own can feel incredibly empowering if you're feeling helpless about what others are (or aren't) doing to combat climate change, and will reduce your climate anxiety.
Also, make sure that you are not fixated on climate news. While it is important to stay informed, obsessing over the nonstop news and scrolling through social media looking for gloom is harmful. Being more picky about your news sources may be more beneficial. Make an effort to follow chosen prominent personalities or look for publications by reliable experts rather than turning to TV newscasts or media websites (which frequently intentionally scare us all in order to obtain clicks). We here at Staiy strive our best to keep our readers informed about the latest climate news, but also hopeful.
Photo by Yelena Odintsova
And lastly, advocate for change. This includes voting for politicians who are not actively taking money from fossil fuel industries and telling family and friends about what they can do. While climate anxiety can seem daunting, it is good to know that you can combat it by doing your best, and educating yourself and others about it as much as you can.