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Climate change is making Americans mentally ill, according to new report


Survey finds that 23% of respondents are "very worried" about global warming

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

According to a report by Agence France-Presse, climate change is becoming such an issue that it's beginning to take a toll on humans' psyches.

Who's so upset?

Rhode Island resident Kate Schapira and her husband have opted to abstain from having children because they are so worried about the condition of the earth in the coming years.

Schapira, 40, a senior English lecturer at Brown University, says the decision stemmed from her "responsibility to the world to shrink down to the size of one person."

And that isn't all.

She also decided that she and her husband will no longer fly because the problem is so much greater than what other people assume it to be.

The lecturer says that she was even moved to set up a "climate anxiety" booth in Providence, Rhode Island's public arena, so that people can receive "climate anxiety counseling."

Lise Van Susteren, a Washington psychiatrist, says that she is concerned that society discounting climate change's mental health implications is problematic.

"I actually have no hesitation in saying that on some level, I believe that everyone now has some climate anxiety," Van Susteren says.

Alicia Cannon, an environmental lobbyist, says that she personally suffers from climate anxiety.

"I think a lot of people that work in climate feel some kind of climate anxiety because it's such a large-scale issue and it's overwhelming and you feel that it's overwhelming because of helplessness," she says.

Oh boy.

The report states that a new survey conducted earlier this year by Yale and George Mason universities found that 23% of respondents are "very worried" about global warming and its impacts on society, and at least 60% of respondents reported being "somewhat worried" about global warming.

Anthony Leiserowitz, who is director of Yale University's program on Climate Change Communication, says all Americans are concerned with climate change, not just privileged elites.

"The common wisdom is that only upper-middle-class, white, well-educated, latte-sipping liberals care about climate change," Leiserowitz says. "Turns out that's not true."

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