Youth eco-anxiety 2023

Smoke from Alberta’s early fire season is fueling climate change concerns.

“We have central and northern fires. “Temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees above normal,” said Alberta Wildfire’s Christie Tucker.

“A lesson that can be learned by looking at the type of fire behavior that we saw, is with things like climate change and a large build-up of fuel all across Western Canada, you can see how quickly fires can develop—we’ve seen that all week,” said Jane Park with Parks Canada and Incident Commander of a prescribed burn in Banff that got out of control on Wednesday.

Younger generations are worried, and medical specialists are noticing.

“Having all these things happening around me… it’s terrifying,” said Calgary Grade 11 student Sadie Vipond. “Knowing that my future will be so impacted by this horrible disaster (climate change) hurts me a lot.”

Vipond’s company. The Lancet interviewed 10,000 youth from 10 countries in 2021. 59 percent were very or extremely worried about climate change, 84 percent were moderately worried, half felt unhappy, furious, helpless, and guilty, 45 percent stated it affects their daily lives and functions, and 75 percent thought the future is terrifying.

“I’m 17 and in high school, so I shouldn’t be thinking about this. “It does fall into hopelessness, despair, and anxiety when people in government are not taking the right courses of action to protect my future,” said Vipond.

Doctors are worried about eco-anxiety.

“They are afraid of having kids,” said Calgary doctor Christine Gibson, who penned a book on stress and trauma. Teenagers and young adults are asking, “Why would I have children?” Why should our children inherit this dangerous world? That’s unfair.

“That shows their fear.”

The Alberta Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment includes Gibson. They’re increasing awareness of climate change’s health effects.

Gibson said young people need support coping with powerlessness and to be heard.

Sadie Vipond said climate knowledge and change advocacy has made her feel less helpless in unpredictable times.

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About the Author: Sanjh Vishwakarma

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