Tackling eco-anxiety in young people aged 18-35 through tree planting.
Disrupted climate events are occurring nationally (drought and bushfires) and globally, events are occurring more frequently, all documented 24/7 by news reporting and on social media. The Noosa Biosphere Reserve has recently experienced climate change evoked environmental disasters, such as bushfires, which are likely to have had a detrimental impact on the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population, and in particular, young people.
Contemporary data collected through Headspace Australia has found a sudden spike in the incidence of emotional distress in boys and girls is related to mounting anxiety related to global events such as bushfire and climate change.
This phenomenon has recently been termed eco-anxiety: ongoing feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness and despair about the future because of climate change, best tackled by “taking action”. Taking action against climate change can lead to feelings of empowerment and hope for the future.
The main objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention program to decrease levels of eco-anxiety in the 18-35 age group by engaging them in pro-environmental behaviour. In this project participants will learn how to take action against climate change, rather than just be concerned about it.
Outcomes from this research will be useful to guide similar programs in other jurisdictions across Australia. Outcomes will be:
- To determine the effectiveness of a tree-planting program to decrease levels of eco-anxiety in the 18-35 age group.
- Understanding how active involvement in a tree-planting program changes anxiety, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and environmental attitudes and behaviours in this age group.
- Assist the Noosa community to reach a target of zero emissions in the Noosa Shire by 2026.
- Assist in the revegetation and restoration of native habitats for wildlife.
- To encourage native wildlife and re-establishment of eco-systems, trees endemic to the area will be planted in this project. For example, trees for koala habitat and trees to attract the Glossy Black-Cockatoo will be planted.
The project commenced early 2022 with a Tree Planting Event in Noosa, in March & April. A final report is due in January 2024.
Noosa Shire Council, Zero Emissions Noosa, GreenFleet, Noosa & District Landcare