scorecardGen Z rates climate change as its top concern, but only one-third engages in activism: Study
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Gen Z rates climate change as its top concern, but only one-third engages in activism: Study

Gen Z rates climate change as its top concern, but only one-third engages in activism: Study
LifeScience2 min read
Climate anxiety is at an all-time high in today's world, especially among the younger generation, which shares a deep sense of urgency and fear about the environmental challenges ahead. Icons like Greta Thunberg have emerged as symbols of this generational concern, inspiring millions worldwide to demand action from policymakers and businesses.

Recent research from Curtin University shed light on similar anxieties and their significant implications on the lives and futures of young Australians. Yet, amid these prevalent concerns, the study also unveils a stark reality: a mere fraction of this demographic is taking proactive steps to address them.

The study surveyed Australian university students belonging to Generation Z, born between 1995 and 2010, revealing that climate change ranked as their top environmental concern. Over 80% expressed being "concerned" or "very concerned" about the issue, with many admitting to feeling anxious about its consequences.

Climate anxiety was found to manifest itself as disturbing thoughts and overwhelming distress about future climate disasters and the fate of humanity, leading to feelings of fear, insecurity, anger, exhaustion, powerlessness and sadness.

According to Curtin Professor of Sustainability Dora Marinova, climate anxiety is contributing to Gen Z's overall sense of unease towards the future, potentially influencing their life choices and decisions. The lack of concrete action to address climate change further exacerbates their concerns, impacting not only their mental health but also shaping their spending habits, career choices and family planning.

Despite their deep concerns, however, the study found that only 35% of Gen Z regularly engage in traditional climate activism, such as fundraising or participating in marches. Instead, many prefer to voice their concerns and seek information through social media platforms.

Dr. Diana Bogueva, a Curtin Research Fellow, opines that while online activism is essential, Gen Z must explore other avenues to alleviate climate anxiety and drive meaningful change. This could include exploring ways to contribute to the solution in their personal lives, such as choosing careers with a positive impact or making adjustments to the products and food they consume.

“While the challenges of climate change can be scary, it is not too late for Gen Z to make a difference fighting for a sustainable future,” Dr Bogueva reinforced.

This study was published in Sustainable Earth Reviews and can be accessed here.

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