Kate Hawkesby: More young people think the world is doomed

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Sep 2021, 9:11AM
(Photo / AP)
(Photo / AP)

Kate Hawkesby: More young people think the world is doomed

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Sep 2021, 9:11AM

Bit of a worry that in these already stressful times for young people, they have an additional worry gnawing away at them; the destruction of the planet and their fear of humanity being doomed. 

Eco-anxiety is huge. The BBC recently reported a “new global survey which illustrates the depth of anxiety many young people feel about climate change. Nearly 60 percent of young people felt very worried or extremely worried. More than 45 percent said feelings about the climate affected their daily lives, three quarters said they thought the future was frightening. Over half, 56 percent, thought humanity was doomed.” 

That’s disturbing, isn’t it? Imagine growing in a world where you think humanity is doomed? 

Having said that, we grew up with a fear of nuclear war wiping us all out, and we were told robots would take over the world, so I guess there’s always been a niggling fear that humanity is doomed. The climate change worry is serious because it’s having a knock-on effect on young people’s plans for the future. 

Apart from feeling worried, sad and anxious, which is bad enough, they’re also feeling afraid to have children. 4 out of 10 told the survey they’re ‘hesitant’ to have kids. Researchers said they were “moved by the scale of distress” of these young people. 

One young person said, “I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t care for children and animals.” So that’s the blunt edge of this anxiety. 

Chronic stress over climate is being compounded by the perception that governments can’t be trusted to act on it effectively enough. So, you add into that stress, the worry or distrust of governments, and you can see how these young people claim it’s creating mental health problems.  

How on earth do you begin to arrest that decline in their faith in the world? And how do you do that when most of the saturation coverage of the world right now is bad news and misery? 

Because, as we know, bad news gets the clicks. 

Add to that, the fact that all around the world young people have been locked down, isolated, kept away from school and friends, they’ve already endured huge challenges to their mental fitness. But to be this worried about the world ending on top of all that, must be enormously stressful. 

So how much of that collective angst and fear, is related to their inability to travel and get out and about these days? 

If you think back to the days of OEs and carefree intrepid adventures round the world, which is how it was when we were growing up, it’s all different now isn’t it. There’re so many more barriers for young people now. 

If they just can’t get out and see how beautiful the rest of the world is, it’s no wonder many think it’s all doom and gloom.