With the increasing talk about environmental issues and risks of climate change, there has been a reported increase in anxiety and feeling of despair among people old enough to understand what it means for the future of humans on Earth. An increase in disasters, rapid regional temperature changes, rainfall pattern shifts and other natural phenomenon and extreme weather events have further solidified the fact that climate change is inevitable. This has inadvertently left many feeling hopeless as governments refuse to address the root cause. Also the fact that each concerned individual feels helpless to do something about it on a larger scale aggravates their condition that effects them mentally.
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Psychological Impacts Of Climate Change:
The Youth, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, who have been hearing about climate change ever since they have been able to understand social media and use it are especially vulnerable. Some impacts on them include:
- Mass Consumption of Climate News- in this age where technology and social media have brought people closer to each other more than ever, the constant intake of news and climate related disasters adds stress to their daily lives. This can become harmful over time eventually if not balanced by other activities. Frequent breaks from climate news and channels, healthy habits need to be a crucial part of lives for all environmentalists or climate change combatants in order to come back stronger in this fight for protecting out planet. Also check out: What is Climate Change Adaptation? – Importance and Methods
- Anxiety, stress, depression, anger, despair and helplessness along with a wider range of emotions are felt by young people. This is partly due to inheriting the burden of having to live in a world on the brink of collapse due to climate change. The actions of the older generations, the overexploitation and unsustainable policies, practices and consumption of resources has lead the planet to this stage at which we are currently. All this makes young people feel quite strongly about it and sometimes these emotions can get the best of them.
Read: What is Climate Anxiety or Eco-Anxiety? – Causes and Effects
- High risk coping behaviors like increased drug use, dangerous sports for fun, feeling of impending doom as well as mental disorders and PTSD have seen an increased prevalence in the past few years.
- People who have been displaced due to disasters or forced to immigrate from their homes or native lands may feel heartbroken and depressed due to loss of personal connection and traditional values associated with their homelands. This causes stress and despair to these people. In Pakistan after the 2022 monsoon floods, people are still displaced and their mental condition is deteriorating fast as they do not have the strength left in them to be resilient anymore.
Also read: How Much Time Earth Has Before Climate Change Destroys it?
Also Related, Forgotten 2022 Pakistan Flood Affectees And Their Future
- Prevalence of diseases and new variants that have emerged as a result of climate change will further add to the mental stresses and problems of people regardless of age. The diseases will increase in frequency with a speeds that will be difficult for researchers to find new and latest antibiotics or treatment for it. This collectively serves as something that is greatly concerning for not just the physical well being of humans but also mental. An example of this has been seen during the COVID-19 pandemic when people experienced bouts of depression that were long lasting.
Also read: Climate Change Impacts Human Health – Pandemics The Future?
In conclusion, the mental or psychological effects the current climate change scenario is slowly wreaking havoc on the minds of vulnerable youth and causing them to descend into activities and indulge in practices that are harmful for their health. Couple that with the pressures and disasters of climate change it is very hard for them to bear this disproportionate burden for long, it is only a matter of time until their resilience falters because of mental health deterioration.
Also read, These 11 Countries Risk Instability Due To Climate Change
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