Is this the end? Workplace climate anxiety leaves young people hopeless

Absenteeism due to poor wellbeing has reached record highs in the UK, with environment fears a major contributor.

man resting his face on his left hand

Force of Nature, a youth non-profit, has published a major study of climate anxiety’s impact on the younger workforce. According to the research, more than 70% of  the demographic now feel ‘hopeless’ as a result of the climate crisis, 56% believe humanity is doomed, with just 26% feeling empowered to contribute to solutions. 

Current data shows that stress, depression and anxiety have now reached record levels among British staff. A key driver for those with fears relating to the environment is inaction, with 93% reporting that engaging with mitigation efforts eases their symptoms. Just 18% of employers in the UK are currently directly addressing sustainability. 

Unsurprisingly, 10million respondents now say they would no longer consider applying for a job at a company with poor, unclear or non-existent environmental, social and governance policies. While this poses a serious threat to many firms’ ability to attract the best candidates in the future, businesses are already suffering economically, with Deloitte estimating £45billion is spent by employers each year on mental health. According to the World Health Organisation, that figure could be much higher, £70billion. 

According to Mark Sait at the charity SaveMoneyCutCarbon, there are several steps that can be taken to ease climate anxiety among employees. These include raising awareness and providing reliable, accurate information. Internal processes and operations should also be assessed for impact and adjusted as necessary. Conducting staff-led environmental audits is another suggestion, which can be done using the EcoWise app we reported on earlier this year. 

More on climate and mental health: 

Protect nature for the good of public health, doctors warn

Anxiety and mood linked to bird diversity

Mental Health Awareness Week: Climate anxiety rocketing, green space helps

Image: Bailey Torres


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