Jennifer Atkinson speaks about the emotional toll of climate disruption


IAS faculty member Jennifer Atkinson spoke about the emotional toll of climate disruption at New Mexico State University as part of their Climate Change Education Seminar Series on October 20. She also discussed the topic in an interview with KTAL Radio in Las Cruces, NM, highlighting recent research on the psychological distress youth and children experience in the face of government inaction on our climate crisis.  The study, titled Young People's Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon, is the largest research study ever done on this topic, and draws on interviews with more than 10,000 teens from across the world (Australia, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Finland, the Philippines, the U.S. and other countries). Results showed that 56% of youth think “humanity is doomed”; 45% said climate anxiety is affecting their daily lives and ability to function (eg. sleeping, eating, focusing on schoolwork); and 77% say the future is frightening with regard to climate change.

Atkinson's talk was part of an interdisciplinary series bringing a range of experts to New Mexico State University and venues in Las Cruces to promote informed discussion of the causes and consequences of climate change. Her presentation, "Climate Anxiety, Grief and Hope: Moving from Angst to Action" explored the dark emotions and mental health impacts of climate disruption among students and youth, scientists, activists, and frontline communities. She also shared practical strategies for building the emotional resilience to channel despair into meaningful action. 

This talk was sponsored by Rene Romo, field representative for U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (N.M.)

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