PHOENIX – In Arizona, we’ve seen the effects of climate change manifest itself in numerous ways: record heat-related deaths, a 23-year “megadrought” and persistent water shortages.
Experts have even blamed climate change for the muted fall foliage in northern Arizona and the death of Strong Arm, an iconic saguaro in the Sonoran Desert.
And those are just some recent headlines on the effects of climate change in the state. Multiply that exposure to coverage of climate change events happening around the world, and it’s no wonder climate anxiety has gained attention.
New research shows anxiety about climate change is hitting young people hard all over the world. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in December, examined responses from more than 12,000 people in 32 countries. The researchers asked people how climate change made them feel. Nearly half of the respondents said they were “very” or “extremely” worried about climate change.
The results varied by country, but the study connected the level of climate anxiety to the content and amount of information people get through the media. It also indicated climate anxiety can “undermine mental well being irrespective of where people live.”
On the flip side, the study suggested climate anxiety can lead to pro-environmental behaviors – walking or biking instead of driving, saving energy at home, avoiding food waste, etc. – in many of the countries.
We want to hear from you.
How do you feel about climate change? Do you avoid news about climate change? Do you believe people like you can take action to reduce climate change? And if so, how can local news outlets empower you to do so?
Cronkite News, in partnership with Local Media Association’s Covering Climate Collaborative, wants your help to better report on the mental strain of climate change. The association, which includes more than 3,000 media outlets, put together a survey on climate anxiety.
News outlets across the country are asking readers and viewers to participate.
The results will be shared with local media outlets involved in the collaborative. However, your individual information will not be shared publicly without your consent. Cronkite News will cover the survey results, and reporters may contact you to follow up for future stories.