A recent article at Euronews titled: Climate anxiety as global study reveals three-in-four young people think ‘the future is frightening’ should be frightening to all, regardless of your position on the extent to which a warming planet will lead to destruction of the earth or not, and at what level should we should fight or adapt.
First, to the study:
Six universities and the Climate Psychiatry Alliance recently polled some 10,000 16 to 25-year-olds from the United Kingdom, Finland, Portugal, Brazil, France, Australia, the United States, India, Nigeria and the Philippines.
- 58 per cent said their government was “betraying me and/or future generations”
- 64 per cent said their government was not doing enough to avoid environmental disaster
- 59 per cent said they were “very” or “extremely” worried about climate change
- more than half of all participants reported feeling “anger”, “fear” and “shame”
- 56 per cent agreed with the statement “humanity is doomed”
- 55 per cent, felt they would have fewer opportunities than their parents
- four out of 10 said the issue made them hesitant to have children
What I found interesting was the conclusion of one of the lead authors that “this study paints a horrific picture of widespread climate anxiety in our children and young people” and “it suggests for the first time that high levels of psychological distress in youth is linked to government inaction.”
First, I don’t fault these young folks for their concerns. I believe their fears are real to them. Most are sincere in their wish to have someone take whatever drastic action necessary to save us all from doom. On the one hand, they’ve been told it is already “too late” and on the other to just support politician’s efforts to throw trillions at this monster and we’ll be ok. I know, that sounds about as crazy as someone claiming imminent sea level rise and buying a multi-million dollar beach front property with the mansion sitting at like 3 feet above sea level. No serious person would do that, right? These youngsters are likely too afraid to take that leap even if they have a few million to spare.
But again, we have folks claiming that it’s already too late to save a planet with only 10-12 years left before we all die … unless, of course … we taxpayers hand politicians trillions to spend on projects which have no direct bearing on the issue and, by their own schedule, will not be in place until long after the planet death spiral destroys us. Typical of DC, their cost spread analysis even allows for spending beyond the end of times. Exactly how does that work?
Our youth deserve better!
There are plenty of opinions available to take you to whatever level of panic you wish. And you probably sense that I have little faith in politicians and the twitter mob as guides, and I don’t reach out to celebrities or ball players for scientific analysis of complicated issues. In recent years I’ve actually lost confidence in agencies, climate modelers and some scientists who claim that “the science is settled.” That some of these folks think anyone who won’t share their level of concern should be placed in jail is stunning. To me, the fact that others must be coerced rather than convinced suggests that your position is a tad weak.
But who cares what I think? You certainly shouldn’t, I’m not a scientist. But then you also might want to ignore other non scientists from both the extreme “doomsday” and the “everything is fine” fringes and instead look to, without bias, all the data driven information you can find from all technically competent science sources. I know that is an unpopular view but, I think, necessary. You will likely find the current warming planet phenomenon is pretty complicated and placing the responsibility for corrective actions in the hands of governments might not be the best solution.
It seems to me that if you really want an untarnished view of the science and possible solutions, you would first have to remove the profit and power motives, which quickly eliminates most of our “ruling class.”
Politicians, except mine of course, are interesting creatures with the ability to come out strongly against a problem of their own creation and provide a plan to remedy the crisis, for just a few additional tax-payer dollars and another term in office. They are supported by huge lobbies with ready cash for the campaign coffers and a bureaucracy often leading the latest political buzz in order to guide policy and cement their tenure.
One need only look to Europe, which we’ve displayed in previous posts, to see the results stemming from the misguided policies intended to send a “green” Freddy Kilowatt racing down the electric lines to citizens. These very citizens who have been driven to accept these policies and, insult to injury, pay for with their taxes, are now experiencing the predicted rash of brown outs and high electricity costs. Dangerous shortages of reliable fuels necessary to keep light and heat on in the upcoming winter have exposed the failure of renewables, which have proven inadequate.
Many scientists who disagree to the level of Climate Change forcasted find common ground with James Hansen’s push for nuclear energy. The man who is arguably the driving force behind “global warming” action for decades, was recently attacked by the acolytes of the very belief in rising temperatures he promoted. All it took was for Mr. Hansen to drift outside the bounds of the climate change lane he largely created by simply stating the obvious – the quickest and most effective counter to CO2 emissions was to properly fund research and development of safe “fast reactors” and new forms of nuclear power.
It’s possible this evolution might already be a reality had President Clinton not put the kibosh on development in the mid 1990s. Interesting that part of the reasoning was that fossil fuels were cheap and plentiful and the cost of then nuclear fuel Uranium was dropping so why go to a potential safer electricity generator. But I suspect that decision has been largely forgotten and now the same gang is helping to hype up the youngsters to call upon government again to save them. In 1988 Hansen, several years prior to the Clinton decision, testified before congress helping to introduce the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions to the American public.
Perhaps I’m being too cynical in seeing that the fear expressed by our youth is being hijacked by those increasing the power and wealth of government institutions and their rent seeking profiteers. Rather than a allowing our youth to realize that technology is available which, with removal of bureaucratic stumbling blocks and proper investment led by private investment rather than taxpayer $$$, solutions to their fears exist. I wonder how many have been provided this assessment of nuclear energy from the Department of Energy – 3 Reasons Why Nuclear is Clean and Sustainable?
Oh, and if you think the education system everywhere is still promoting the “question everything” manta of science to counter the current “science is settled,” I’ve got a bridge … but that’s for another post.
Politicians are justifiably critical of the negative influence social media has on our youngsters with all the bullying and tearing down of self esteem leading to anxiety among the young. Perhaps those who take to the fringe of climate action should consider looking in a mirror, for the die-in-10 years anxiety they create among the young sampled in this study, is equally bad emotionally and, perhaps even deadly.