“Climate change isn’t something people choose to believe or not: it’s happening,” quotes Matt Gaetz, a politician in the US. Whichever country we live in, an issue of great concern is climate change. It is something to be looked into seriously. Physical effects are common when it comes to the impact of climate change, but mental trauma or anxiety accompanies it as well. It might hit that climate change and mental health are very much related when we experience calamities.
As a teen, change in temperatures has affected me a lot. It makes me feel stressed, annoyed, and vexed. We all can think it is ludicrous to correlate a person’s mental health with climate change, but climate change affects our mental state and causes anxiety directly or indirectly. It hit close to home once: The 2020 floods. My grandparents' home, being situated in a low-lying area, was convenient for water to easily break into. I woke up one morning to see the entire house brimmed with water. We had to move to a small single-roomed house on the terrace. Unaware of what situation I am going to find the house in, I was restless. The floods did not settle in for a couple of days so I had to adjust in the small place I stayed. This situation made me anxious and stressed about what was going to happen in the future. The house was flooded. I didn’t know whether I would live in the same house. I was overwhelmed with a lot of feelings and thoughts. I experienced something I thought I never would. I never knew climate change could trigger my emotions and cause stress.
By this time, it is safe to say that natural disasters are an effect of climate change. Every person feels personally victimized by every disaster, no matter what it is. When it comes to the youth, losing their parents, loved ones, and homes can have a huge impact and emotionally affect them. This results in instability of their mental condition. Not only do they lose people around them but there is a greater chance of them becoming vulnerable to these catastrophes. The earthquake in Syria and Turkey is a major crisis that displays the solemnity of the risks involved with climate change. Although I was not present there, the visuals tingled me hard. Almost half of the youth lost their loved ones, homes, and much more. Seeing little children who lost their parents and not knowing what will happen to them disturbed me. Even though steps were taken to provide moral support to the children who were displaced, it was still traumatic to them and messed with their emotions.
Coping with this grief can be a lot harder for children. As a teen, I felt cliche things made me emotional and annoyed. I get overwhelmed with several emotions if I have a fight with my parents or miss an outing with my friends. But my perspective changed a lot after I deemed how these children would feel who do not have parents to look after them. These children had the course of their existence change forever. There would have been so much uncertainty as to what would happen to them in the future.
I felt the same when I was in the middle of something. The Vardha cyclone of 2016 was somewhat of a different experience for me in different aspects. I had to stay indoors. There were constant power cuts and we had to light candles when it became dark. The situation made me anxious and worried about the rest of my family who were living in vulnerable areas in different parts of the country. The cyclone was bringing down people’s homes. There was water shortage, and we had to adjust by drawing water from the wells. The situation was so bad that many people had to use water from wells and tanks. A few neighbours lost their homes, and people fell sick. Everyone was insecure about their lives and had no clue as to what was going to happen to them.
Climate change is not only as catastrophic as a disaster, it is also something that we experience on a day-to-day basis. Right now, we all can feel the heat getting onto our last nerve since it is summer. We are afraid to even step foot outside our homes due to the sun’s heat. At home, we always have the air conditioner running which increases global warming. Air conditioners were something that was a luxury earlier, but now they have become a necessity. I have never seen the weather rise to 40 degrees which makes everyone irked.
“Whatever you do, comes back to you” is thrown around a lot. We grow up learning about karma. Climate change is just like karma. Human activities like burning fossils, emitting greenhouse gases, destroying forests, and much more trigger climate change which in turn affects us. These are only a few instances of something happening bigger around the world. Are we going to gradually become the cause of our own harm or forestall the actions that will keep us going without more children losing what they need?