Young People and Eco-Anxiety
People often become anxious when they perceive a threat. Many kinds of anxiety are common among youth. Young people often have faster and wider interaction with the world through social media, than older generations, which can exacerbate anxiety by multiplying the perception of threats around them. Young people can also be more susceptible to threats than older generations, simply because they have younger minds.
Environmental destruction and climate change are not short-term threats which are going to be resolved any time soon. So, waiting for these threats to go away, will not resolve our eco-anxiety. It can only be resolved by finding personal ways to accept and cope with these threats. Young people rightly feel more threatened by environmental issues than older generations, because they have their whole lives ahead, whereas older generations have often lived most of their lives with a high level of environmental security. Young people are the main stakeholders of the future, so although anyone can be eco-anxious, youth are especially vulnerable.
News & Views
“I can’t seem to tune out two ticking clocks – the planet’s and my own. This play started off as a creative outlet to express my frustrations with everything ranging from dating in a cosmopolitan city to witnessing those in power disregard any reasonable solutions to maintain a livable planet. As I started sharing my story, I learned it was relatable to almost anyone who has swiped on dating apps, scrolled through news stories, and is troubled…“
If you’ve been prone to eco-anxiety, the latest news on coronavirus might also be causing you to overthink. Social media is buzzing with it, and the media are giving ever-developing updates. With the situation changing daily, this article may be out of date by the time you read it, but it still holds good advice. Psychologists say that coronavirus is “the type of thing that increases anxiety disproportionately in terms of its actual danger”, and they share 5 ways of managing anxiety during the coronavirus outbreak.
Beautifully written, movingly told and meticulously researched, Losing Eden is an elegy to the healing power of nature, something we need more than ever in our anxiety-ridden world of ecological loss. Woven together with her own personal story of recovery, Lucy Jones lays out the overwhelming scientific evidence for nature as nurturer for body and soul with the clarity and candour that will move hearts and minds – a convincing plea for a wilder, richer world. (Isabella Tree, author of Wilding)
New Zealand schools have integrated climate change and dealing with eco-anxiety into their curriculum
In January, New Zealand became one of the first countries in the world to dedicate time and resources to learning about climate change as a special part of the secondary school curriculum, including tools for students to plan activism activities, and ways to alleviate eco-anxiety. Here you can download the Wellbeing Guide (pdf) being used in NZ schools, titled: “Climate Change: Prepare Today, Live Well Tomorrow.”
Climate and mental health specialists Karen Larbi and Rosemary Randall discuss how to deal with anxiety, Southbank Centre, London, 6th April 2020
£15 tickets, online. Karen Larbi is a trainer, facilitator, consultant and event producer. She currently works at Campaign Bootcamp, and previously worked at Rethink Mental Illness on the Time to Change campaign. Rosemary Randall is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who’s been active in the climate movement for over fifteen years, and is the co-founder of the Carbon Conversations project and a founder member of the Climate Psychology Alliance.
As Australia’s most extensive bushfire crisis continues and areas across the country remain at risk, the mental health fallout is becoming more apparent. Psychologists report that people are shocked by the widespread devastation, and their fear of the fires, concern about health impacts from smoke and distress about the vast amount of wildlife killed are all fuelling ‘eco-anxiety’ – worry and grief about our environmental crisis – in the wider population. For the thousands of Australians evacuated from the path of …
Britt Wray, radio broadcaster and science communicator, says: “For all that’s ever been said about climate change, we haven’t heard nearly enough about the psychological impacts of living in a warming world”. In this short talk, Britt explores how climate change is threatening our well-being – mental, social and spiritual – and offers a starting point for what we can do about it. Britt also runs workshops which explore issues of eco-anxiety, environmental justice, and bio-ethics, described on her website.
We’re leading the fight for a future where all young minds are supported and empowered, to be resilient whatever the challenges.
A map of the UK showing theraputic services for climate-anxiety and eco-anxiety, plus related resources.
A new forum for people to share their eco-anxious stories with others. By sharing, you may provide comfort and solidarity for others.
Facebook page, a safe haven for planet caregivers who are tired, scared or need support. A forum for positivity, strengthening, and community-building.
Group chats about anything that's on your mind, for fun and a chance to unwind, a judgement-free zone Sun-Thu, 8:00-9:30pm.
Creating experiences, places, and media which express responses to climatic and ecological change, for communities mostly in NY City.
Download this guide (pdf) on how to explain climate change and its impacts to children. Produced by The Climate Reality Project.
Ten kid-friendly yoga poses and breathing techniques to help ease anxious young minds. Balloon breaths, sandwich, cat/cow, down-dog, tree, reclining butterfly, etc!