Have you heard of the term “climate anxiety”? This “new” term refers to a problem that has been present in our societies for a long time.
It is the concern, frustration, pain and even anger associated with the reality of the climate crisis and the constant failure of governments to act with the urgency it requires.
In the face of continued frustration at the lack of the right public policies to overcome the climate crisis, many people are suffering from anxiety disorders and mental health problems.
According to a study published by Avaaz, “almost half of the young people surveyed worldwide (45%) say that anxiety related to climate change is affecting their daily lives: the way they play, eat, study and sleep”.
In addition, they assessed that “7 out of 10 (75%) respondents believe that ‘the future is scary'”, a percentage that rises to 81% in young people in Portugal and 92% in the Philippines.
“58% expressed that governments are ‘betraying them and/or future generations,’ while 64% said their governments are not doing enough to prevent a climate catastrophe.”
Finally, “4 in 10 young people (39%) say they are now hesitant about having children.”
What do these figures mean to you, and do you identify with these realities?
The November intention of the Global Network of Prayer for the Pope invites us to dwell on this theme: “Let us pray that people suffering from depression or extreme exhaustion may receive support from everyone and a light that opens them to life”.
In the Pope’s video, Francis mentions that “the strong mental, emotional and affective exhaustion” that many people suffer leads to sadness, apathy and spiritual fatigue that end up dominating their lives.
For this reason, he encourages to be close to these people, to encourage them to a psychological accompaniment and to relieve them with the word of Jesus: “Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.”
To continue talking about this topic, we will meet on Tuesday, November 30 at 10:00 ET /16:00 CET, in a new Laudato Si’ Dialogue entitled “Turning Climate Angst into Climate Action”.
We will feature experts in the field such as Jennifer R. Marlon of the Yale Climate Change Communication Program; Erin Lothes, Program Coordinator of the Laudato Si’ Movement; Judith Anderson of the Climate Psychology Alliance; Holly-Anna Petersen, mental health therapist, Christian Climate Action; and Benson Makusha of the International Young Catholic Students.