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Report warns against the effects of climate anxiety in young people

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The American Psychological Association has described climate anxiety as a “chronic fear of environmental doom”.

Researchers have warned children and young people are particularly vulnerable.

A recent report led by researchers at the University of Bath in the UK surveyed 10,000 young people in 10 countries and found that 77% viewed the future as frightening because of climate change.

“Nearly half say that this fear, this worry, this anxiety, this distress is impacting on their daily functioning, by which we meant sleeping, eating, going to school, concentrating, playing, spending time with friends, with family, spending time in nature…” commented Caroline Hickman, psychotherapist and member of the Climate Psychology Alliance.

Many young people contemplate a future of scorching heatwaves, devastating storms and rising seas.

In addition to that for some there is also the issue of climate injustice.

It’s the case of Jennifer Uchendu, a Nigerian climate activist, who says “I think what has been really apparent has been anger for me and I often connect that with eco-anxiety for young people who live in the global south, when we think of the climate injustice and how we bear the burden of climate change, even though we contributed the least to it.”

South African therapist Garret Barnwell explains how climate change also serves as ‘an amplifier of a lot of other social injustices.

“We live in places where there is multiple social injustices, so it’s not only climate change that is experienced, but you have access issues to health, you may have water access issues in others, and what we’re talking about here is climate change really being an amplifier of a lot of other social injustices”, defends the expert.