Need to address ‘eco-anxiety’ among children - GulfToday

Need to address ‘eco-anxiety’ among children

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The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Climate change is an issue that affects each and every life on the planet.

The world’s mountain and glacier regions are facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change, imposing a crippling effect on the people and economies that rely on them

As UN officials point out, the earth’s glaciers, snow, permafrost and associated ecosystems, collectively known as the cryosphere, provide drinkable water for half of the world, but as the earth gets warmer, the supply is becoming unpredictable.

It will be absolutely irresponsible on the part of the present generation to leave a much more inhospitable planet for the future generations to inherit.

In fact, there are increasing signs that more and more children are worried about this prospect.

A British survey of 2,000 children, aged eight to 16, conducted by pollster Savanta-ComRes for BBC Newsround, has revealed that one in five children are having nightmares about climate change.

About 17% of children in Britain said worries about climate change were disturbing their sleep while 19% said these fears were giving them nightmares.

Two in five, or 41%, went to the extent of saying that they did not trust adults to tackle the climate crisis.

This should be seen as a wake-up call for world leaders to take a firmer stand on measures to tackle climate crisis.

Over the past year, millions of young people have flooded the streets of cities around the world demanding political leaders take urgent steps to stop climate change, inspired by 17-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

As consultant clinical child psychologist Emma Citron points out, young people are clearly fearful about climate change with the survey finding 58% worried about the impact that climate change will have on their lives.

The American Psychological Association has also stated that it is aware of reports of growing “eco-anxiety” in children.

It should be noted that Britain’s Oxford Dictionaries recorded a 4,290% increase in the term “eco-anxiety” in 2019, particularly among young people.

Parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change are meeting at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November, where they must commit to tougher targets of reducing emissions.

Under the Paris Agreement, each country made a pledge to curb domestic emissions. But the combined efforts of countries’ current pledges would still put the world on track for around 3 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, far above the level scientists say would avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.

Troubling news also comes on another front with researchers cautioning that climate change and sea level rise are currently on track to wipe out half the world’s sandy beaches by 2100.

Even if humanity sharply reduces the fossil fuel pollution that drives global warming, more than a third of the planet’s sandy shorelines could disappear by then, crippling coastal tourism in countries large and small, they reported in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Australia could be hit hardest, with nearly 15,000 kilometres of white-beach coastline washed away over the next 80 years, followed by Canada, Chile and the United States.

The 10 countries that stand to lose the most sandy shoreline also include Mexico, China, Russia, Argentina, India and Brazil.

The fact remains that there is mounting perceptible change in public opinion about climate crisis, particularly among young people, and politicians need to listen.

Inaction cannot be an option.

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