Climate change narrative should focus on “actions we can take” rather than “catastrophes that can’t be overcome” says Plaid
Plaid Cymru spokesperson on Climate Change, Delyth Jewell MS, is today leading a short debate on the impact of climate change on mental health
The way we talk about climate change should emphasise agency and positive changes rather than unavoidable negative climate change impacts, according to Plaid Cymru’s Delyth Jewell.
Ms Jewell, who will today lead a short debate in the Senedd on the impact of climate change on mental health, said that she is eager to “reframe the way we talk about climate change with children and young people” by placing more emphasis on agency - alleviating some of the mental health implications the topic can lead to.
‘Climate anxiety’ is a term used to describe feelings of anxiety related to the global climate crisis and the threat of environmental disaster is an increasingly common phenomenon especially linked to children and young people.
Ms Jewell said that government messaging was important and referred to the “huge role” the curriculum for Wales also plays in shaping climate change narrative.
Plaid Cymru’s Spokesperson on Climate Change, Delyth Jewell MS said,
“I’m eager in my new role to help to reframe the way we talk about climate change with children and young people, to focus more on the agency we have, the actions we can take to make a difference, not just about catastrophes that can’t be overcome.
“Climate anxiety is real, and scary, and can hit us all; so many of us will have had an overwhelming realisation that something truly awful is happening to our planet, and it can make us all feel powerless, like there’s nothing we can do.
“We can’t allow this narrative to continue, not least because our very hope of tackling the climate emergency rests on our not allowing it to overwhelm us.
“We need to get better at talking about climate change in a way that also gives us agency. The way we frame the conversation about human impact on our planet needs to show us tangible ways of reversing that impact, especially when talking to children and young people. Less ‘countdown to the end of the world’, more counting all the ways we can make a positive change.
“The media narrative has a role in this, but so does government messaging. There’s a huge role for the curriculum in Wales in this - guidance and support should be given to all teachers in how to address climate anxiety, and to make sure we can all give our children a sense that change is possible. That every action we take now can help to turn things around.”