Eco-anxiety affects more than 80% of Generation Z

Eco-anxiety affects more than 80% of Generation Z

Young Australians are very concerned about the climate crisis. Not only because of the direct impact it has on their lives, but also in anticipation of weather events that may occur in the coming decades. This is the conclusion of a survey carried out by Australian Curtin University.

Published in Sustainable Earth Reviews, the survey surveyed 446 Australian students born between 1995 and 2010 (in other words, members of Generation Z). Among respondents, 81% say they are “concerned” or “very concerned” about climate change. Fear, insecurity, anger, exhaustion, feeling of helplessness, sadness… A wide range is evoked by the participants to talk about the emotions generated by the climate crisis, as well as the prospect of future extreme climatic phenomena (forest fires, floods, hurricanes). , droughts, etc.).

An impact on their health, their lifestyle choices…

These young people are very worried and, in a way, intimidated by the lack of concrete measures taken to combat climate change“, confirms Dora Marinova, professor of sustainable development at Curtin University and co-author of the study, in a press release. “Generation Z has serious concerns that will impact not only their mental health (….) but also the choices young people make: how they spend their money, whether they will start a family or not, their choice of career, etc.“, continues the researcher.

If eco-anxiety can prove to be a real driver of commitment for some, as demonstrated by the global success of the Fridays for Future movement initiated by the famous Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in 2018, it is however far from be the case for all young people. The Australian study reveals that only 35% of members of Generation Z are actively involved, for example by raising funds, donating money to associations, supporting political campaigns or participating in marches. or climate protests. Unsurprisingly, the young people interviewed however explain that they regularly use social networks to express their concerns and seek information.

A concern that is true on a global scale

The authors of this work also note that elsewhere in the world, the climate crisis is also placed at the top of the societal concerns of Generation Z. According to research carried out in ten countries and published in 2021 in the journal The Lancet, 59% of “Gen Z” say they are “very” or “extremely” concerned about climate change. This level of concern, however, remains lower than that mentioned in the Australian study. A difference which, according to researchers at Curtin University, could be explained by Australians’ climate awareness being more marked by the events they face on a daily basis.

The studied sample of the Australian university population is more aware and concerned about the impacts of global warming and extreme weather events that are particularly felt on this continent, including wildfires, droughts and floods. Global Gen Z is starting to worry about climate change, but the level of concern is higher in places where its effects are already being felt. The result is climate anxiety that is not necessarily as pronounced in other parts of the world“, suppose the latter.