SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The precarious future of the planet affects everyone, and we often hear about the immediate human impact of natural disasters stemming from climate change. But what happens when an entire generation grows up listening to and watching negative news about the environment? How does it affect the health of their psyche?
Stress stemming from environmental issues isn't new and unfortunately, it's likely here to stay. Swell Investing commissioned a study conducted by The Harris Poll to measure the effects of negative news about the environment and what actions they're taking to address it.
In an online survey of 2,029 U.S. adults conducted on behalf of Swell Investing by The Harris Poll from April 5-9, 2018 Swell found that:
92% of Americans are worried about the future of our planet
Nearly three quarters (72%) of millennials 18-34 say that watching, hearing and/or reading negative news stories about the environment sometimes has an impact on their emotional wellbeing (e.g., anxiety, racing thoughts, sleep problems, a feeling of uneasiness)
Among those who say they are worried about the future of our planet, about two-thirds say they take steps to reduce energy use in their home (68%) or take steps to reduce water waste in their home (64%)
Only 13% of American adults invest in environmentally responsible companies to address worries about the future of the planet, but millennials are ahead of the curve with 20% investing in companies that prioritize the environment.
While ecoanxiety is high among young people, there's a silver lining. Anxiety, while unpleasant, is an effective motivator. And we have our work cut out for us when it comes to securing the future of the planet. Many people are doing something about the negative emotions they are experiencing, with the majority of people addressing climate change in their day-to-day lives.
"The next generation has a high level of awareness of the challenges at hand when it comes to the health of the planet, and it's heartening to see so many people taking action in their day-to-day lives," said Dave Fanger, CEO and Founder of Swell Investing. "But there's more to be done at the company level when it comes to investing. Think about it this way. You can take actions to protect the earth at home. But when you put your investment dollars behind environmentally responsible companies, you're voting for the future you want to experience."
Which of the following makes you worried about the future of our planet?
65% answered air pollution/quality
57% answered the availability of clean drinking water
56% answered the overproduction of waste (i.e. not enough room in landfills for the trash we produce)
How much do you agree with the following statement: Watching, hearing and/or reading negative news stories about the environment sometimes has an impact on my emotional well-being (e.g., anxiety, racing thoughts, sleep problems, a feeling of uneasiness).
72% of millennials aged 18-34 said that negative news stories about the environment impacts their emotional well-being
56% of those aged 35-44 agreed with the statement; and
57% of those aged 45-54 said the same
Which of the following steps do you take in your day-to-day life to address worries about the future of the planet?
84% of Americans take steps in their day-to-day life to address their worries about the planet
62% take steps to reduce energy use in their homes such as turning off lights and using energy efficient appliances
59% take steps to reduce water usage, such as taking shorter showers and turning off faucets
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Swell Investing from April 5 - 9, 2018 among 2,029 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Natalie Rix at [email protected].