The new generation is grappling with sustainable anxiety. A 2020 survey of child psychiatrists in England revealed that over half (57%) of respondents encountered children and young individuals distressed by the climate crisis and environmental issues. Interestingly, despite this concern, much of the older generation remains unaware of this matter.
In this blog, we will delve deeper into the causes of this eco-anxiety and explore how companies should start preparing for this young generation. These individuals won't just be future leaders; they will also reshape the demand system in the traditional market.
Generation Z has attracted the attention of their teachers, parents, and other generations. They feel a significant gap between their beliefs, which focus on positive environmental impact, and the prevailing norms that often overlook sustainability. This divide causes frustration and alienation, leading to anxiety. They also feel misunderstood and out of place in a traditional working environment that often neglects sustainable practices. This frustration and anger stem from the worry that if companies continue down an unsustainable path, Earth won't be a place where they can live as they wish.
As the world continues to change, we've noticed various concerns among these individuals, with five main worries taking the spotlight:
Extreme weather events
Rising pollution and its impact on health
Ocean pollution and waste accumulation
Loss of biodiversity
Water stress and shortages
These concerns are inspiring new ways of living, affecting dietary choices, brand preferences, career aspirations, and where they want to work.
What eco-anxiety means? The American Psychology Association (APA) describes eco-anxiety as “the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change and the associated concern for one's future and that of next generations”. The APA, therefore, considers that the internalisation of the great environmental problems that affect our planet can have psychological consequences of varying seriousness in some people.
It's not just that a significant number of young people are altering their lifestyles. What's important to note is that this change isn't driven by a mere desire for positive action; it's fueled by genuine concern. They can't remain idle because unsettling thoughts about their future are overwhelming them.
More than half of the 16- to 25-year-olds, in the Lancet survey, said they believe humanity is doomed.
And close to 40 percent said that fears about the future have made them reluctant to have children of their own: “the world is not worth bringing people into anymore, which is a very dark place to be”.
Some actually are asking themselves why are they studying? If the planet is going to be extinguish...
This generation is growing with their new values. Values that have to be taken in mind by the business that want to modernize their work and have this new creative and conscious minds in their team. Workers that may ask for a positive change but also provide new tools to the market, individuals who are really connected to nature but also to the latest technology as they were born with cellphones and laptops around them.
Climate change activists and people affected by climate anxiety say that it is necessary to believe that climate-positive actions are working and that it is worth fighting for. This belief in climate optimism inspires them to work even harder towards controlling or minimizing the negative effects of climate change.
In conclusion, eco-anxiety occupies a significant space in the minds of young individuals, while it garners relatively little attention from older workers. It's crucial that the younger generation's voices are heard and considered. They need to be embraced both as individuals who are passionately driving change and as the latest users of this era, in the context of human relations.
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