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Photo by Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

Author

Climate Mental Health Network

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Science, Social Studies, Civics, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Videos, 14 minutes, 26 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global

Format

YouTube Video

Gen Z Mental Health: Climate Stories

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Synopsis
  • This video features Gen Z young adults discussing their anxieties related to the climate crisis, including their fears of being impacted by wildfires, floods, or other natural disasters.
  • The featured participants discuss what they do to feel better when thinking about their climate anxieties and they mention building connections and community, pursuing careers in mental health, growing plants to share, and activism to prompt governmental action.
  • Many mention that they think they should not have children when they feel such a sense of doom about the future.
  • Some participants discuss their disillusionment with governments or corporations that will not put the health of the planet and people over other interests.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video shows first-person narratives along with haunting images of climate disasters to drive home the concept that climate change is affecting peoples' lives now.
  • Environmental injustice is discussed as communities often being the most impacted by the effects of climate change are usually the least responsible for the causes.
  • The video ends with positive ways individuals are making change through climate activism and shows images of groups organizing through protests and in support of climate action.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Learners should be familiar with the types of perilous situations resulting from climate change such as increased flooding, wildfires, and climate migration.
  • Learners should be emotionally prepared to think about serious topics related to natural disasters and mental health.

Differentiation

  • Before watching the video ask students to discuss or journal about their current feelings related to climate change.
  • After watching the video ask students if their thoughts or feelings have changed and if they would prefer to discuss their impressions as a class or in pairs.
  • As an extension, have students write an essay about whether they think individual, community, federal, or international actions will be what is necessary to fix the climate crisis.
  • This workbook on Taking Action and Self-Care is an excellent follow-up to this video. 
  • Consider bringing in a mental health professional to join the class to discuss how to cope with feelings of anxiety and depression that can be brought on by climate change.
Scientist Notes
Young people, who are the most adversely affected by climate change, are increasingly showing signs of anxiety, dread, and mental health. This 15-minute video highlights the stories and narratives of young activists who are starting and leading climate action, sharing ideas and suggesting solutions to their local communities, the LGBTQ+, underrepresented communities, networks, and policymakers to collectively combat the climate crisis. The resource is advised for classroom use.
Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.PE.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with peers on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
      • SL.ES.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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