Experiencing Climate Anxiety….

Blog by: Karun Tyagi

Do I have climate anxiety? Perhaps all climate-concerned people should respond to this question. The effects of climate change are leading people of all ages and demographics around the world to feel distressed, angry, and other negative feelings. This “eco-anxiety” has a negative influence on people’s lives and is partially generated by the perception that governments aren’t doing enough to prevent a climate catastrophe from occurring.

The following definitions of climate anxiety emerge most commonly in research:

Climate anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.”

Glenn Albrecht, an Australian environmental philosopher, has been a key figure in raising awareness of climate anxiety, which he defines as “the generalised sense that the ecological foundations of existence are in the process of collapsing” and “worry about our relationship to support environments.”

Ten thousand people between the ages of 16 and 25 were questioned by a team of nine academics, including psychologists, environmental scientists, and psychiatrists, for an innovative study published in The Lancet last year. Seventy-five percent of young people from ten nations who took part in the study agreed that the future looks bleak. Almost half of those who participated in the survey said that worrying about climate change has a detrimental effect on their capacity to perform daily tasks like concentrating, eating, sleeping, studying, and enjoying relationships.

Natural disasters, shifts in land use, and the depletion of resources are all examples of the kinds of environmental stressors that have the potential to set off anxious reactions in people.

The manner in which climate change information is shared is an additional factor that is frequently highlighted as a trigger of climate-related worry. No matter if you get your news from TV news channels, internet articles, or social media, all of these different sources of information might make climate fear worse. Even while environmental education should stress the significance of taking action to combat climate change, some teaching methods can make students more anxious.

Anxiety about the climate can have beneficial results, such as increased climate advocacy or education, but it can also pose challenges to engagement in climate action by overwhelming people with feelings of individual responsibility, which makes it difficult to really make changes.

Source:Hickman, C. et al. Preprint at http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3918955 (2021).



Image Source: The Conversation


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