A new website called ‘Hold this Space’ has been set up in response to recent research findings that young people are vulnerable to their mental health being negatively impacted by the climate crises. A major recent study published by Lancet found that 6 in 10 children and young people surveyed worldwide were very worried about climate change while 75% thought the future was frightening.
Evidence is growing that climate change is harming the mental health of people across the world. These effects can be through people directly experiencing the consequences of a warming planet, such as trauma following a natural disaster. They can also result from awareness of such impacts, for example through the news and social media, which can trigger a range of feelings from doom to determination, anger to apathy.
‘Hold this Space’, takes people through a series of activities to help them reflect on their climate-related thoughts and feelings, imagine what a more positive future looks like based on the latest science, and consider what they can do to help make this future a reality.
The activities were co-designed with climate and environmental scientists, psychologists and young people, in response to this rising recognition of how climate change can impact people’s mental health and wellbeing, and the lack of available support for people experiencing these effects.
The project is led by Common Vision, in partnership with Imperial programme Climate Cares – a collaboration between the Institute of Global Health Innovation and the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment – and Force of Nature. It is funded by the National Environmental Research Council (NERC).
“Hold This Space encourages young people to use their emotions to create new visions for the future and take action to get there.” stated Caroline MacFarland, Director of Common Vision.
The Water Forum’s submission to the draft River Basin Management Plan recommended expanded public engagement and the use of public participatory approaches when developing the 46 Integrated Catchment Management plans proposed in the draft RBMP, such approaches could help engage young people in creating a ‘new vision for their river catchments’ and to discuss options for a better future at local level thus potentially reducing eco-anxiety.
Additionally, as recommended in the Framework for Integrated Land and Landscape Management policy brief taking a systems-based approach to catchment management will address nature, climate and water together and make space to consider social, economic and environmental outcomes in a more balanced way.
This week the Water Forum circulated a Tender for the development of a Transition Year Education Module on river catchments and water resource management so that young people can learn more about how they can contribute to developing plans for their local waterbodies.
Hold this space website www.holdthis.space/