Maryam Arif

14 Years

Al Barkaat Public School


Climate Change Anxiety | Essay by Maryam,15, Aligarh

What is climate change anxiety? Is it a real thing for our young people? Explore with 15-year-old Maryam from Aligarh in this essay

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“I lost my friends

I lost my family

I lost my home”

We hear these words way too often in this calamitous world.

Climate Change has become a massive part of our lives. Every day, there is one piece of news or another about the destruction caused by the rapid changes in our climate. Just hearing about these deadly destructions can significantly affect a person’s mental and physical well-being. This feeling of  psychological distress or unease experienced by individuals due to concerns about the consequences of climate change is known as climate change anxiety.

A feeling very widespread among today’s teenagers as they take it all in.

Climate change, the culprit we face,
A weight on our hearts, an urgent embrace.
The changing landscapes, the rising tide,
A future uncertain, where hope may hide.


Teenagers are concerned.
Teenagers are, in fact, more likely to experience climate change anxiety as they will potentially be the ones witnessing it, experiencing it. Britt Wray, a human and planetary health postdoctoral fellow who has also written a book: Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in the Climate Crisis, said she has seen climate anxiety in high schoolers, middle schoolers, and even children as young as 8. Climate anxiety isn’t a clinical mental disorder; instead, Wray said the growing consensus in the field is that it is a  natural response to a real and existential threat.
“[The anxiety] can be really hard to deal with because of the intensity of the climate crisis, and the fact that solutions for this crisis aren’t reconcilable by any individual.” Wray said. “There can be a bit of a trapping in the anxiety that occurs when a person feels like they aren’t in control and aren’t able to address the threat by finding the right solution for it.”

“In a world of chaos, where worries reside,
A stirring anxiety, deep and wide.
A concern for our Earth, a planet so dear,
Awakens within us, whispers of fear.”

Teenagers are feeling helpless, anxious, and afraid.
When we are talking about climate change anxiety among teenagers, there is a lot of hopelessness.”
“I feel like generally there is a lot of hopelessness among people my age,” said Croix Hill, a 16-year-old junior at Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans. “When talking about it, people are just kind of like, Well, whatever. We are not even gonna have a planet in 50 years, so it doesn’t even matter.”

Teenagers are struggling to imagine a future that affects every decision they make, the lifestyle they choose, and the choices they make. They feel powerless, weak, and discouraged while taking steps on an individual level, as they do not seem to be making any impact at all.
It is almost as if we’ve entirely given up on a stable future. But some say that the idea is somewhat  validated as no difference can be seen.

“In youthful eyes, the anguish does grow,
A burden they bear, a truth they know.
For the young ones dream of a pristine land,
With vibrant ecosystems, hand in hand.”

Teenagers want to know- why they should even try if they are not making any difference.

Sarah Jaquette Ray, the author of A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety, says, “You have to find some other reason to do it besides the guarantee of an outcome.”

Outcomes are not promised; however, our most minor efforts hold much importance. No matter how small, every action can have a ripple effect and inspire others to take action. By preaching and practicing, you have the potential to influence and empower individuals, communities, and future generations to create positive change. Another reason is that not doing anything at all will only boost your anxiety, and you will feel guilty and in vain. Knowing that you are contributing to something greater than yourself
can bring a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness. Another thing to remember is you are making a difference. You are always making an impact; it’s just that sometimes they might be too small to acknowledge it. But these slight differences are significant. From the most minor actions, like replacing plastic bags with a sustainable option, to more extensive activities, like spreading awareness on a large scale, all matter. They all contribute in one way or another.

One might feel ashamed for “not doing enough” but what we need to realize is- it is the small that leads to the big.Now, even though outcomes are not promised, they can happen.


It is all about working rightly and working together. Changes will likely happen when individuals come together and work towards a common goal. By taking action, you become part of a larger movement that has the potential to create significant collective progress, leading to a better world for everyone.

“Aching hearts yearn for leaders to unite,
To forge a path forward, to make things right.
But progress seems slow, actions too few,
And the weight of it all, they can't help but rue.

So let us transform anxiety to drive,
To protect the beauty that keeps us alive.
With courage, resilience, and a burning flame,
We will overcome the challenges, and climate change.”

Teenagers- our youth, our hope.
You might feel scared at times. A lot of times. And that is completely fine, completely valid. It just proves how empathetic you are towards the world. However, Do not let the fear overpower you. Turn your fear into your biggest strength, power, and motivation to keep going and working towards making the world a better place for yourself and those after you.

Even if the challenges seem immense, Remember every individual has the power to make a difference, whether it’s through personal choices, community engagement, advocacy, or supporting organizations dedicated to positive change. Your efforts, combined with those of others, can contribute to a collective impact that can bring about meaningful and lasting change.

You are the hope, the youth, the future.

“Let’s join hands in solidarity’s might,
And strive for a future that shines so bright.
For in the face of adversity, we’ll remain,
Driven by love, determined to sustain.

In the midst of this worry, let’s not forget,
That together we hold the power to reset.
With knowledge and action, our voices can soar,
To heal Mother Earth, and hope to restore.”

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