Young people on Vancouver Island experiencing eco-anxiety over future of the planet

WatchOne of the messages that came through loud and clear is the pressure that today's youth say they feel about the future. Many believe the world is in critical danger and they are demanding change. Mary Griffin reports.

There was a crowd of thousands on Friday for the climate strike in downtown Victoria.

It was a crowd full of young faces protesting because they are worried about their futures. That includes grade nine Reynolds Secondary School students Ingrid Riccius, and Renee Elliott.

“I want to live my life. I don’t want to die early. I want our earth to go back to normal. I don’t want animals to go extinct. I want everything to be OK,” Elliott said.

The fear many who are protestings feel is common to child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts who sees this in patients every week.

“Eco-anxiety is this sense. This is widespread among our young people that the world is in critical danger and they must now pick up the gauntlet and make change happen,” Dr. Roberts said.

Friday’s protest was organized by young climate activists who are motivated to see that change happen, including grade nine student Brian Alton and his friend Colton Hauser.

“I feel that it’s wrong that we are ignoring, and we need to act now. Otherwise, this is not how the world will be in the next ten-ish years, which is sad,” Alton said.

“If we have kids when we’re older, they won’t be able to survive if we just ignore this,” Hauser said.

Marching and protesting are some of the best ways to combat fear about their future, Dr. Roberts said.

“I think it’s really positive. Some parents say they are not certain if it’s proper for a child to miss school for something like this. But I disagree. I think it is tremendously encouraging for young people to have the chance to be empowered and go out and do something,” Dr. Roberts said.

“If we take action now, we can restore it to what it used to be, and be as beautiful as it once was before all of this happened,” Grade nine student Cooper Blackwell said.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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