We need to (find a way to) talk about … Eco-anxiety

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Eco-anxiety may not be new, but could now be seen as an emergent phenomenon attracting increasing attention as public awareness about the climate and bio-diversity crisis grows. There may also be some generational differences in how we respond emotionally, with children often talking about feelings framed by their experience of adult misunderstanding or inaction. What often scares children the most is how they see the ‘adult world’ failing to take sufficient urgent action on these threats, whilst at the same time dismissing, criminalising, pathologising and patronising their feelings and voices. Children and young people are increasingly taking centre stage in protests about the need to take urgent action, whilst simultaneously often being the focus of society’s anxieties about the psychological impact of the crises; ‘we mustn’t frighten the children’. This paper focuses on children and young people’s perspectives; introducing eco-anxiety, drawing on clinical practice examples, research findings and finally offering conceptual frames to help us broaden and deepen our understanding of this evolving syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-424
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Issue number4
Early online date17 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 GAPS.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • bio-diversity crisis
  • children and young people
  • climate emergency
  • depth psychology
  • Eco-anxiety
  • eco-empathy
  • relational practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Drug guides


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