Poll: 39 Percent of Young Adults May Remain Childless Because of Climate Fears

A study published in the British medical journal The Lancet found that 39% of young adults reported feeling uncertain about having children, given the state of the environment and the added carbon footprint brought by having children.

The Lancet polled about 10,000 older teenagers and young adults to ascertain how climate change is affecting mental health, and found that the majority were “very” or “extremely” worried about the effects of rising global temperatures.

Those polled for the survey were between the ages of 16 and 25 across 10 countries, and respondents were asked about climate change and the threat it poses to ecosystems and humans worldwide.

Titled “Young People’s Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon,” the paper asked about the role governments and individuals have in contributing to climate change, along with their emotions about climate health, The Hill reported.

Eighty-three percent of people surveyed from all countries felt that individuals have broadly failed to care for the planet. Another 55% reported having less opportunity than their parents, given the state of climate change. 

Regarding government leadership, 65% of respondents felt that governments have failed young people by not making abrupt changes to help slow climate change. 

“A large proportion of children and young people around the world report significant emotional distress and a wide range of painful, complex emotions (sad, afraid, angry, powerless, helpless, guilty, ashame, despair, hurt, grief, depressed),” the report concludes. 

The recent United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found “irreversible” damage to the Earth, including melting ice sheets and warming ocean waters. This could exacerbate intense natural disasters like hurricanes and increased coastal flooding. 

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