PORTLAND, Ore. — Climate change can be a big and scary concept.
Most of the news isn’t good. The potential for worsening wildfires, droughts and heatwaves is high. Often, it seems like real solutions are few and far between, and those that do exist are often turned into political talking points. It can sometimes feel like the average person has little agency to make a difference with such a complex and multi-faceted problem.
So it isn’t surprising that, as our understanding of humanity’s role in climate change has grown along with the implications for future generations, mental health issues related to our changing climate have grown in parallel.
Angst about the current and future impacts of climate change is a global phenomenon. Between 2016 and 2021, researchers from the University of Bath conducted a survey of 10,000 young people, between the ages of 16 and 25, across 10 countries. They found that nearly 60% of respondents were “very worried” about the changing climate and more than half said they felt betrayed by the response of those in power.
Many used words like “sad, anxious, angry, powerless, helpless, and guilty” to describe their feelings on global warming, according to the report.
Climate anxiety isn’t just a problem in other countries, though. A report from the Oregon Health Authority, released earlier this year, mirrored the findings of the international survey.
In a series of focus groups held earlier this year, young people in Oregon told researchers they felt feelings of hopelessness, despair and frustration, often fueled by the inaction of older generations and policymakers.
But we know the people who took part in these studies and reports aren’t the only ones feeling anxious about what our world will look like as it grows warmer.
So we want to hear from you.
KGW is a member of the Local Media Association – a group or more than 3,000 TV news outlets, radio stations, newspapers and digital publications – that fosters collaboration among its members. The association has put together a survey on climate anxiety, embedded below, which is running across a number of stations around the country.
We’re hoping that you, our readers and viewers, will take the time to fill it out and tell us how you’re feeling about the state of the climate. None of your individual information will be shared publicly without your consent, and the survey includes a spot to leave your contact information, so that we can get in touch for future stories on climate anxiety.
Help us report on the mental strain of climate change by taking the embedded survey below or by following this link.