"Eco-Anxieties for the Next Generation" - Morgan Cassidy

As I am walking through the streets of Dundee, litter is scattered everywhere, and I am angry that in the year 2021 people continue to neglect the earth, despite severe warnings about what this is doing to the planet. I feel hopeless watching the world deteriorate around us, and no one seems to care enough to stand up for change.


As my anxiety increases, I worry for our future. I ask myself if I want to have children, to only leave them in a world of ruin. I want to eventually build my own family, but seem to be convincing myself that it would be for my own selfish reasons. If we don’t make the urgent change now, the future generation will confront a planet that is overheating, with dangerous weather conditions, and rising sea levels. I would only blame myself for bringing life into a world of destruction caused by us. Over the past few months, I have been more attentive to recycling, deciding meat alternatives to reduce cattle farming and deforestation, and choosing public transport to decrease my carbon footprint. However, I realise this cannot be achieved alone. Everyone needs to be involved in making a change.


The clock is ticking on how much time we have left to save the planet. According to The Independent (2020), we only have seven years left to make that change. We have seven years to start recycling sustainably, protect our green spaces, cut down on carbon emissions, use sustainable farming, and many more eco-friendly alternatives to save the planet. There is a lot to do, and as time goes on, I don’t believe we will make it. I want to believe we can, but people are still not understanding the crisis we are in.


We do have important figures standing for change whom I admire. One, in particular, is Greta Thunberg; a young girl who deeply understands the climate crisis and is extremely concerned about her generation's future. As an act of protest, she is refusing to attend school so she can educate the world about climate change and inspire people to join in. With the tremendous work accomplished, she still receives hateful comments, mostly from middle-aged men, implying she is "deeply disturbed" and "mentally unwell", according to the Metro, 2019. I find myself asking how the majority of the older generation is unaware of what is happening around them, and why they refuse to be educated. My generation and younger understand the climate crisis yet it seems we need to work harder to convince our elders. What the planet needs is worldwide effort, but how do we convince those who do not want to listen? There is an unsettling, anxious sensation in my chest as the deadline creeps in.


If we want change, we need to act now or the damages we cause will be irreversible. When it truly is too late, we will never forgive ourselves.