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Climate anxiety affecting Gen Z’s well-being

A new study shows that more than 80% of young people are ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about climate change

A new study shows that climate anxiety is contributing to Gen Z’s overall sense of unease towards the future,
A new study shows that climate anxiety is contributing to Gen Z’s overall sense of unease towards the future, (Pexels)

Devastating consequences of worsening climate change are increasing concerns across the world. Now, a new study shows that young people have major concerns about climate change and are feeling anxious about the issue.

For the study, researchers from Curtin University surveyed Australian university students belonging to Generation Z (people born between 1995 and 2010) and found that climate change was their topmost environmental concern. More than 80% of them reported being ‘concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about climate change, with many feeling anxious about it, the university’s statement revealed.

Also read: How to combat climate change with empty offices

Climate anxiety refers to concern about climate change which manifests as disturbing thoughts, and overwhelming distress about future climate disasters and their impact on humanity and the world. It can also lead to feelings of fear, insecurity, anger, exhaustion, powerlessness and sadness.

The findings, published in Sustainable Earth Reviews, climate anxiety is contributing to Gen Z’s overall sense of unease towards the future, which could lead to major future problems. “These young people are very concerned and, in a way, intimidated by the lack of concrete action being taken to battle climate change,” study author Dora Marinova said in the statement.

According to the researchers, Gen Z’s serious concerns will not only impact their mental health but also their decisions such as how they spend their money, whether they have families, and choice of career.

For instance, a November 2023 study published in PLOS Climate, found that people are choosing to forego having children or choosing to have fewer children due to climate change-related concerns.

However, the concern hasn’t led to widespread action yet. The study shows that only 35% of Gen Z regularly engaged in traditional climate activism such as fundraising, donating money to worthy causes, supporting political campaigns, or participating in events such as marches or protests. Gen Z rather regularly use social media to voice their concerns and get information. 

“Gen Z should consider participating in more traditional or mainstream areas of activism such as political campaigns to engage with policymakers and better connect with other generations to influence decision-makers, to accelerate climate action, and help safeguard a liveable planet for all,” study author Diana Bogueva suggested in the statement.

Also read: ‘Eco-anxiety’ affecting people's reproductive choices

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