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Are you anxious about climate change?

Climate Anxiety Hotline added to Climate Clocks Worldwide for Mental Health Awareness Week
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Climate Mental Health Hotline on the Climate Clock in Union Square, NYC

Main image: Climate Mental Health Hotline on the Climate Clock in Union Square, NYC © Greg Schwedock
 
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (15-21 May), the Climate Clock will swap its traditional messaging on its 80ft-wide digital clock face in Union Square, New York City and its hundreds of handheld clocks around the world to a virtual hotline – MentalHealthHotline.earth – providing support for millions experiencing climate anxiety.

Climate change, a grave threat to our planet and civilisation, is causing increasing numbers of people to feel overwhelmed and anxious.

Anxious and betrayed

A 2021 study in The Lancet revealed that 62% of young people feel anxious about climate change.

Respondents across all countries said they are worried about climate change (59% are very or extremely worried and 84% are at least moderately worried). 

More than 45% of respondents said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.

Respondents reported ‘greater feelings of betrayal than of reassurance’, with 83% feeling the powers-that-be have failed to take care of the planet.

Climate anxiety and distress were correlated with perceived inadequate government response and associated feelings of betrayal.

‘The evidence shows that the climate crisis is hurting young people’s mental health worldwide. Many climate anxious youth experience moral injury from living in a system where power holders are not doing what the science says must be done to protect the future habitability of the planet.

‘It isn’t that young people are so upset because the environment ‘is not doing well’, it’s that they feel betrayed by leaders on this issue, which makes their suffering worse. The good news is that courageous climate action can change that, and if we want today’s youth to enjoy a well functioning society when they’re older, it must.’

DR BRITT WRAY
Lead of the Special Initiative on Climate Change and Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford Medicine, and author of Generation Dread

Climate and mental health

By swapping its traditional deadline and lifeline figures for a virtual ‘hotline’ offering support for those experiencing climate anxiety, the Climate Clock hopes to highlight the importance of mental health and provide resources to those who need them.

The new virtual hotline will provide links to support resources such as helplines, climate cafés, online forums and other mental health services that specialise in climate-related issues.

The resources will come from organisations across the world including Climate Psychology Alliance, Force of Nature, Good Grief Network, Climate Awakening, Gen Dread and Psychologists for the Future.

These resources will be easily accessible via the Climate Clock website, ensuring that youth, parents, teachers and others who need support can find it quickly and easily.

‘The climate crisis impacts our minds, hearts and bodies far more than is discussed privately and publicly. Globally, climate anxiety, depression and trauma are all on the rise.

‘The most vulnerable among us are the least responsible, and most impacted. Collectively, we need to change course.

‘In order to collaboratively develop pro-social, equitable and timely solutions to the crisis, it is essential that we address individual and community mental health needs.

‘Caring for ourselves, each other and the planet are mutually interdependent. Acknowledging the uncertainty of the moment helps us to move beyond hope vs doom, and find meaning and purpose in the crisis.

‘We invite you to join us so that we can grow together towards a regenerative way of life.’

REBECCA WESTON
Co-president, Climate Psychology Alliance, North America

‘Wake up’

The climate anxiety hotline will be displayed on the Climate Clock’s hundreds of globally deployed handheld clocks currently being used by a diverse network – from teachers in the DRC and Italy to youth activists in Turkey and Tokyo and activist organisations in Ghana, the Netherlands, Kosovo, and Brazil — to promote climate education and spur community action and awareness.

The messaging will be on the clocks the entire month of May and resources will be hosted permanently on the Climate Clock website.

‘Climate anxiety is the internal alarm bell that tells you something is wrong. Right now, humanity is hurtling toward a cliff of climate collapse: we need people to wake up and look in the face of this crisis. When we’re honest with ourselves, when we hold space for difficult emotions, we open the door to our courage… and instead of shutting us down, climate anxiety can be the fuel that motivates us.’

CLOVER HOGAN
Climate activist and founder of Force of Nature

What is Climate Clock?

The Climate Clock first went viral on its launch in Union Square, New York City, in September 2020. It now has a global presence, with monument-sized Clocks installed in London, Rome, Seoul and Harrisburg, PA and portable clocks in the hands of climate leaders from Greta Thunberg to Bill McKibben to Governor Jay Inslee.

The Climate Clock exhibits a ‘Deadline’, counting down the time remaining to prevent global warming from rising above 1.5°C, as well as four ‘lifelines’ tracking progress on key solution pathways.

The lifelines include the percentage of the world’s energy generated by renewable sources, the amount of land protected by Indigenous peoples, the amount of Loss & Damage financing owed by the rich G20 nations to the more climate-impacted nations of the Global South.

The recently launched Gender Parity lifeline tracks the percentage of women in national parliaments, a key climate solution. The countdown is based on IPCC data, the gold standard of climate science.

The clock’s ticking

On July 22, 2023, the second annual Climate Emergency Day, the Climate Clock will tick down below six years for the first time in history.

This will mark the beginning of one of the few remaining ‘climate years’ left for decisive action. All the clocks around the world will simultaneously mark this moment with a synchronised global response from grassroots activists, cultural figures and climate leaders.

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