“Why should I want to live in this world that doesn’t care?”
That tragic comment was one child’s answer to a survey conducted by Avaaz, a global organization that promotes activism on a variety of issues. Avaaz interviewed 100,000 young people in ten countries, asking how they feel about climate change.
Among the findings:
- Nearly half of the youth surveyed (45%) say that climate anxiety is affecting how they play, eat, study, and sleep.
- 75% believe “the future is frightening.”
- 58% said governments are “betraying me and/or future generations.” Nearly two-thirds believe their governments are not doing enough to avoid a climate catastrophe
- Almost 40% of young people report that they are hesitant about having children themselves.
At the end of its online report, Azaaz invited readers to add their own comments about climate change and the actions it’s inspiring them to take.
Interestingly, although expressions of despair ran throughout the many scores of answers, nearly everyone limited their comments to blaming governments and big corporations for not preventing global warming. Almost no one suggested any kind of practice that might make us feel better, even as we face this Earthwide crisis.
Radical Joy for Hard Times offers that action. Our practice of making gifts for hurt places may not “heal” that place. Certainly they can’t turn back climate change. However, they are extremely effective in empowering us, the makers and presenters of the gift, reminding us that, though we may feel frightened and angry, we are not helpless. The RadJoy Practice also transforms a hurt place and reminds it of its original beauty, some of which we can rediscover when we look for it. Our actions bring people together at a place everyone loves. They reinvigorate both people and places.
Finding and making beauty is an action anyone of any age can do wherever and whenever ugliness and neglect cry out for attention and care.