Eco-Anxious in St Andrews Comparing climate anxiety in university and community populations - STACEES Research Seminar

This exciting University event brings into dialogue two recent research projects on eco-anxiety. Both studies examined experiences of anxiety about the climate crisis for people living, studying and working in St Andrews and its surrounding areas. The event presents findings from both studies, allowing for comparative cross-disciplinary dialogue regarding approaches, and methods, in addition to comparisons between University and community populations on the topic of climate anxiety.

Dr Bridget Bradley (Department of Social Anthropology)

Presenting findings from her recent research project ‘Eco Worrier, Eco Warrior', Dr Bradley highlights the lived experiences of her participants living in St Andrews who identify with having eco-anxiety. She discusses the relationship between anxiety and activism, demonstrating the ways that climate work or action can contribute to the mental wellbeing of people living in the area. Her work also offers insight into the importance of intergenerational relationships and kinship networks to research on climate change and mental health.

Heather Fortune (Biology and Sustainable Development), Emily Jenkins (Computer Science and Management) and Marcelina Lekawska (Ecology and Conservation)

The group of St Andrews undergraduate students will present findings from a survey assessing the occurrence of eco-anxiety amongst students and staff members at the University. Within this survey, eco-anxiety was defined as “worry or stress caused by thinking about climate change, our relationship with nature, and surrounding issues”.

Over a period of three weeks throughout April 2020, 364 responses to the online survey were registered. Data analysis reveals insights into how common eco-anxiety is within the University, who experiences it, how people cope with it, and how University services can work to address this issue.

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