How are young people coping with climate change? The answer, according to one study, is not well, and for good reason.
For a forthcoming study, researchers with the U.K.'s University of Bath and other schools spoke to 10,000 people in 10 countries, all of whom were between the ages of 16 and 25, to gauge how they feel about climate change. The prevailing response could be summed up in two words: incredibly worried. And the respondents say governments aren't doing enough to combat climate change.
The survey arrives more than six weeks before the world's nations are set to gather in Glasgow, Scotland, at an annual meeting convened by the United Nations to address climate change. Scientists say that nations aren't passing the right kinds of bold policies to avert the worst effects of climate change. The survey suggests that young people around the world grasp how widespread and dangerous political inaction is on climate change.
The study concluded that there's a correlation between negative emotions, such as worry, and beliefs that government responses to climate change have been inadequate. So the way governments have been addressing — or failing to address — climate change is directly affecting the mental health of young people.
Of those surveyed, nearly 60% reported that they felt either "very" or "extremely" worried about climate change, and more than half said climate change made them feel "afraid, sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and/or guilty."