As defined by the American Psychological Association, eco-anxiety is the “chronic fear of environmental doom.” In 2011, Glenn Albrecht was the first one to report mental health issues driven by pollution, biodiversity loss, and other ecological disasters. Eco-anxiety was one of the psychoterratic syndromes mentioned by the author. According to a recent review, this fear for the future triggers a series of health implications such as depression, hopelessness, stress, insomnia, functional impairment, and reluctance to have children.
Over the last few years, with the media increasingly covering global warming, eco-anxiety evolved into climate anxiety. Since 2017, google searches for both eco-anxiety and climate anxiety have boomed. In particular, according to a recent YouGov poll, young (16 to 24-year-olds) Brits are more likely to be “very worried” about climate change, as compared to the respondents over 50. On the bright side, 86% of the survey participants reported that going outdoors and being among nature was an effective coping strategy. In addition, having a shared space to explore eco-emotions and engage in storytelling, as demonstrated by a school-based pilot project, reduces young peoples’ eco-anxiety while promoting hope.
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