The concerns about climate continue to grow.
Data from Google says searches related to “climate anxiety” hit a record high in 2023 over the last five years worldwide.
Climate or eco-anxiety is a chronic fear of environmental doom and the associated concern for one’s future and that of the next generations.
According to a 2019 survey from the American Psychological Association (APA), over two-thirds of Americans have experienced eco-anxiety.
Google has tracked the trend of the eco-anxiety searches since 2018. They say searches for this topic are “+4,590% searched than it was back then.”
It is not a surprise people are googling the topic since in 2023 we’ve seen atmospheric river storms bring blizzard and stormy conditions to California from wildfire smoke from Canada turning the skies of New York hazy and orange.
We also talked to Spectrum News National Mental Health Correspondent Dr. Nicole Cross about this topic.
She told me, “I imagine people are googling climate anxiety more to put a name on what they’re feeling, gain a sense of control over it, and to arm themselves with information. They are also likely looking for ways to combat climate change and be part of the solution.”
Plus, Dr. Cross says climate anxiety could really take a toll a person’s physical and mental health.
“Climate anxiety can manifest as intrusive, distressing thoughts about climate-related disasters, shortness of breath, a racing heart rate and/or worry. In some cases, the intense worry intrudes on your sleep, relationships with others, and your ability to do your job,” said Dr. Cross.
The data taken from Google Trends tracked searches from over 200 countries and territories around the world.
“People are future-facing when searching for environmental issues. In the last 12 months, we have seen an increase in queries about the future of the planet associated with topics such as climate change, sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions,” said a Google spokesperson.
The United States is 16th for climate anxiety related searches. The countries with the highest search interest include Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Brazil, Indonesia and Japan rank the lowest for climate concern searches.
Google says people are interested in this topic because they want to find solutions to solve climate change.
“When you look at the kind of queries people are searching for, it’s evident that they are seeking understanding, but also wanting to take action: ‘how to solve climate change’ was one of the trending queries about climate change worldwide in the last two years,” said Google.
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