Eco-anxiety Is Crippling Gen Z. How Can We Move Forward?

Christians can disciple each other toward action, prayer, and hope.

I’m 26 and mostly full of enthusiasm for the future. But when I think about the heat waves, floods, and humanitarian crises that I’ll likely experience in my lifetime, I feel a sense of dread. And even more so when I think about the future of my children and my children’s children. I wonder if they’ll get to experience all the beauty of God’s creation that I so cherished while growing up.

As a young farmer, I feel my chest tighten as I watch weather patterns and the seasons become more and more erratic. I worry if there’ll be wars for food and water with a warmer climate, or if water sources will be polluted and the soil will be eroded.

Many people, especially my age, feel the same way. A recent survey asked 10,000 young people across the world about their thoughts and feelings regarding climate change. According to the findings, three out of four young people think the future is frightening. More than half reported feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, and powerlessness when thinking about climate change. And around 45 percent of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.

These fears have become so prevalent in our generation that a new term has been coined: eco-anxiety.

In a way, young people today have fulfilled climate activist Greta Thunberg’s provocation to leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2019: “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.”

But while I respect Thunberg’s contribution to putting climate change on the world’s agenda, I disagree with her on this. I don’t believe that panic will help us. …

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