The psychological impact of climate change
From bushfires to floods, Australians are no strangers to extreme weather events that are becoming increasingly common as a result of climate change. As such, 86% of Australians express some level of concern about climate change. Similarly, 79% of Victorians are concerned about the negative impacts of climate change, not just on us but also on future generations.
For people most affected by climate change and extreme weather events, the resulting distress can impair their ability to perform daily tasks. This can result in climate change anxiety.
What is climate change anxiety?
Climate change anxiety is a negative affective state related to anticipation about the threat posed by changes to the climate.
It is important to note that climate change anxiety is not always a clinical diagnosis. Anxiety itself can be beneficial since it alerts us to potential dangers. In fact, a lack of anxiety is sometimes even harmful.
As such, climate change anxiety may constitute an anxiety disorder to the extent that it is excessive, persistent, or out of proportion, as judged by a clinician and taking contextual factors into account.