By PETER CADDLE
More than 70 per cent of children aged 7-12 are now afraid of climate change according to the results of a survey.
More than seven in ten children aged 7-12 are now worried about climate change, research conducted by a UK-based start-up has reportedly found.
It comes amid reports from various experts that children and teenagers of various demographics are experiencing high rates of mental health difficulties, with one school councillor earlier this year saying that anxiety rates have hit an all-time high post-lockdown.
According to a report by Euronews, the survey — which polled 1,000 children born between 2010 and 2015 on their views regarding the environment — found that a total of 71 per cent of respondents were now worried about environmental changes, including the changing climate.
27 per cent of respondents in particular said that the impact changing global temperatures were having on animals is their greatest concern, while just under one in five were most concerned about plastic pollution.
The survey is one of the latest examples of so-called eco-anxiety — extreme worry in relation to the changing climate or dangers to the environment — affecting children at a time when educational systems are focusing more and more on ongoing issues to do with emissions and potential catastrophic rise of sea levels.
For those on the political left, in particular, eco-anxiety appears to be a growing variable, with the European Union even running courses for its workers in the hopes of helping them to deal with the stress brought about by their climate beliefs.
A study published earlier this year found that a significant number of children now also appear to be experiencing “a variety of emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt, and hopelessness that characterize eco-anxiety”, though noted that more research into the phenomenon’s impact on children in particular needed to be done.
Such anxiety comes at a time when many young people are already experiencing major mental health difficulties for a wide variety of reasons, with some experts even suspecting that the on-and-off worldwide COVID lockdowns have had a seriously detrimental effect on the well-being of children.
“Kids have the highest level of anxiety I’ve ever seen: anxiety about basic safety and fear of what could happen,” one Colorado school councillor told a New York Times investigation earlier this year.
Others remarked that their students had ended up “frozen, socially and emotionally, at the age they were when the pandemic started,” seemingly as a result of lockdown-related isolation.
Meanwhile, the CDC has reported that 44 per cent of American teenagers reported themselves as experiencing “persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness,”.
20 per cent said that they had contemplated suicide, with 9 per cent saying that they had attempted suicide at least once during 2020.
More recent data has shown that teenage girls in the UK are also in the midst of a mental health epidemic, with 54 per cent of 16 and 17-year-olds being reported as experiencing “elevated psychological distress” over the last twelve months.
Nearly one quarter meanwhile said that they had self-harmed within the past year, while 11 per cent reported having attempted suicide.