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Moving from Eco-Anxiety to Eco-Action through a Family Plan

"Why don't you get it? You can't wait for my generation to clean up your climate mess," exclaimed my 14-year-old daughter.

Her younger sister nodded emphatically, both of them pointing to the recent International Panel on Climate Change report that concluded we have about 10 years before we reach the point of no return.

Even with 20 years of experience in environmental advocacy under my belt, it was an intense conversation for me. And when I started asking other parents of teens, I quickly realized they were having similar ones with their kids.

Gen-Z'ers are reminding us that it's high time to take action.

From basing decisions on where to go to college on the potential for climate-induced wildfires and floods to a general fear that the planet won't be habitable soon, my daughters and many of their peers suffer from "eco-anxiety," which the American Psychological Association now defines as "the fear of chronic environmental doom."

It's not just them and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg: A growing number of young people are feeling it. Generation Z kids, born after 1997, consider climate change the biggest threat to the world, according to a 2019 Amnesty International survey, and a Washington Post poll found that 1 in 4 Gen-Z'ers have taken action on climate.


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