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Climate Crisis & Tokophobia

It has become increasingly difficult to raise children mainly because of the poisoned environment of present days. As the future is not bright for the children, many young people have decided not to go for children!

The Lancet Planetary Health, an interdisciplinary journal covering planetary health, recently published a study-based research paper, titled ‘Young People’s Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon‘. According to the paper, four out of 10 young people in the world no longer want to have children. They are not interested in moving forward their lineage, and to leave any hereditament. Nearly 40% of young people, aged between 16 to 25, do not believe that the next generation would get the opportunity to live a peaceful life, and to enjoy the basic rights. The study, carried out among young people (aged 16 to 25) in 10 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Portugal, the UK and the US, has revealed this alarming situation.

People staging protests in various countries

Experts are of the opinion that there has never been such a large-scale survey on young people’s concerns about Climate Change. The survey has been conducted jointly by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and several Universities of the US, the UK and Europe. According to experts, the young generation does not believe that the Developed and Developing Nations would be able to control Climate Change in next two decades. Instead, they believe that Global Warming is the outcome of negligence and carelessness of States and their failure in taking motivated actions. Hence, it would not be possible to slow down the pace of Climate Change. They have also blamed the previous generation for endangering the future of children of the next and subsequent generations.

As per the research paper, three-quarters of young people agree that the future of the world is dire because of rapid Climate Change. More than half of the younger generation think that they have far fewer options than the previous generation to escape the impending danger. Nearly half of the young generation are deeply concerned about the loss of livelihoods and property due to Climate Change.

Wildfires… an ominous sign of a terrible future

Talking to the media, Mitzi Tan (23) from the Philippines said: “I grew up being afraid of drowning in my own bedroom. Society tells me that this anxiety is an irrational fear that needs to be overcome, one that meditation and healthy coping mechanisms will ‘fix’.” She added: “At its root, our climate anxiety comes from this deep-set feeling of betrayal because of Government inaction. To truly address our growing climate anxiety, we need justice.

Luisa Neubauer, a 25-year-old German Climate Activist, has admitted that it is now common for young people to worry about having children. She stressed: “I meet a lot of young girls, who ask whether it’s still OK to have children. It’s a simple question, yet it tells so much about the climate reality we are living in.” Neubauer added: “We, young people, realised that just worrying about the climate crisis won’t stop it. So, we turned our individual anxiety into collective action. And now, we are fighting everywhere: on the streets, at the courts, in and outside institutions across the globe. Yet Governments are still failing us, as emissions are rising to record levels. The appropriate answer to this study would be governments to start acting like they promised they would.

Earlier, the UNICEF claimed that children and young people across the globe were bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, as one billion children were at “extreme risk” from the impacts of climate breakdown. Caroline Hickman of the University of Bath, Climate Psychology Alliance and co-lead author of this study, has backed the UNICEF’s claim, saying: “This study paints a horrific picture of widespread climate anxiety in our children and young people. It suggests for the first time that high levels of psychological distress in youth is linked to Government inaction.” She also said: “Our children’s anxiety is a completely rational reaction given the inadequate responses to Climate Change they are seeing from Governments. What more do Governments need to hear to take action?

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