The climate crisis makes 4 out of 10 young people hesitate to have children

This story was originally published by Tthe Guardian and appears here as part of the Climate Table collaboration.

Four in 10 young people around the world are hesitant to have children as a result of the climate crisis and fear that governments are doing too little to prevent a climate catastrophe, according to a survey conducted in 10 countries.

Nearly six in 10 young people, ages 16 to 25, were very or extremely concerned about climate change, according to the The largest scientific study to date on climate anxiety and youth., published last Tuesday. A similar number said that governments weren’t protecting them, the planet, or future generations, and they felt betrayed by the previous generation and governments.

Three-quarters agreed with the statement “the future is scary” and more than half felt they would have fewer opportunities than their parents. Almost half reported feeling distressed or anxious about the weather in a way that was affecting their daily life and functioning.

The survey of about 10,000 young people covered Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was funded by the Avaaz campaign organization.

Young climate activists said that feelings of anxiety about the weather were now widespread among today’s youth. Mitzi Tan, 23, from the Philippines, said: “I grew up afraid of drowning in my own room. Society tells me that this anxiety is an irrational fear that needs to be overcome, one that meditation and healthy coping mechanisms will ‘fix.’ At its root, our climate anxiety stems from this deep sense of betrayal due to government inaction. To truly address our growing climate anxiety, we need justice. “

It is now common for young people to worry about having children, according to Luisa Neubauer, a 25-year-old climate activist, who is a co-organizer of the school strike movement in Germany and helped achieve the court victory that has forced the Germans. government to reevaluate its climate policies.

She said: “I know a lot of young girls who ask if it is still okay to have children. It is a simple question, but it says a lot about the climatic reality in which we live. We young people realized that worrying about the climate crisis will not stop it. So we turn our individual anxiety into collective action. And now, we fight everywhere: in the streets, in the tribunals, inside and outside institutions around the world. Yet governments are still failing us, as emissions are rising to record levels. The proper response to this study would be for governments to start acting as promised. “

Earlier this month, UNICEF found that children and young people around the world were the most affected by the climate crisis., with one billion children at “extreme risk” from the impacts of climate collapse.

The study, titled Young people’s voices on climate anxiety, government betrayal and moral damage: a global phenomenon, has been published in advance of publication, while it is in the process of peer review, by the scientific journal Lancet Planetary Health. The survey was conducted and analyzed by seven academic institutions in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States, including the University of Bath, the University of East Anglia, and the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Four in 10 young people around the world are hesitant to have children as a result of the climate crisis and fear that governments are doing too little to prevent a climate catastrophe, according to recent surveys in 10 countries. #Climate anxiety

The survey adds to previous surveys, who have also found high levels of anxiety on the climate crisis around the world, including fears of having children.

Caroline Hickman, from the University of Bath Climate Psychology Alliance and co-lead author of the study, said: “This study presents a gruesome picture of widespread weather anxiety in our children and youth. It suggests for the first time that high levels of psychological distress in young people are related to government inaction. Our children’s anxiety is a completely rational reaction given the inadequate responses to climate change they are seeing from governments. What else do governments need to hear to take action? “

Francois Hollande, who was president of France when the Paris Agreement was forged in 2015, urged governments meeting in November in Glasgow for the UN’s COP26 climate summit to take note. “Six years after the Paris Agreement, we must open our eyes to the violence of climate change, to its impact on our planet, but also to the mental health of our youth, as this alarming study shows. We must act urgently and do everything possible to give a future to the younger generations, ”he said.

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