A study based on surveys of 10,000 children and young adults found that more than three-quarters of 77 percent thought the future was frightening, and nearly six in ten said they were very worried or very concerned about climate change.
More than half said they felt fear, sadness, anxiety, vulnerability and/or helplessness or guilt, and nearly half (45%) said their fears had negatively affected their daily lives. Young people also feel that governments are failing them and betraying future generations, they lie about the effects of actions taken on climate change, and they ignore People worried about this issue, the results suggest.
As the Daily Mail reports, less than a third (31%) believe governments are doing enough to avert disaster, and two-fifths (39%) say they are reluctant to even have children, even though the number ranges widely between different countries.
Carolyn Hickman of the University of Bath, a co-leader of the study, said it pointed to a “horrific picture” of climate anxiety pervasive in children and young adults, and suggested a link to government inaction.
The study, which is being peer-reviewed for publication in the Lancet Planetary Health journal, collected data from 10,000 young adults, ages 16 to 25, online through research platform Kantar.
Participants came from 10 countries: the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Portugal, the United States, Australia, Brazil, India, Nigeria and the Philippines. The survey, conducted by 11 international experts in psychology, child and adolescent mental health and climate anxiety, was conducted earlier this year. Released as the UK prepares to host key global climate talks, Cop26, in Glasgow in November, leaders will come under pressure to step up their actions to limit rising temperatures, against the backdrop of increasingly extreme weather and stark warnings from scientists about inaction.
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