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Eco-anxiety in France - statistics & facts

Global warming's irremediable nature, exacerbated by the observation of disasters like floods, droughts and successive heat waves, can cause significant anxiety, coupled with a feeling of powerlessness given the immensity of measures needed to address the situation.
If eco-anxiety is not considered a psychiatric pathology, it can manifest itself by sleep disorders, anxiety attacks, and even lead to depression. Solastalgia is in fact the expression of a societal suffering that is becoming more and more widespread, since 80 percent of French people declared themselves to be concerned about global warming, and 69 percent pessimistic about the future of the planet.

Despite a minority of climate skeptics still denying this phenomenon, the scientific community agrees that global warming is largely due to human activity: overconsumption, intensive breeding, massive use of fossil fuels, and the human lifestyle, especially the Western one, must be questioned. One of the UN communiqués reports that if humanity continues to live at its current rate, the Earth's temperature will rise by three to five degrees by 2100, causing major climate disruptions in many regions of the world. The average temperature of the blue planet has already risen by about 1.2 degrees over the last century, and climate tension is rising, since the problem no longer concerns the future, but already affects the present.

Aware of the crisis already underway, many French people have changed their way of living and consuming, although to varying degrees. When the simplest gestures such as turning off the light when leaving a room, sorting waste or buying seasonal products are almost unanimously adopted, it seems more difficult to consider reducing meat consumption, buying less clothing, not taking the plane or going on vacation. However, even if citizens have an important role to play in fighting global warming, individual actions can sometimes seem derisory, because the very idea of everyone's responsibility is biased. Most of the waste produced in France does not come from households, but from economic activity, particularly that of the construction industry.

In fact, individual responsibility, although indispensable, cannot be transformed into an anxiety-provoking and general guilt-trip, and is therefore not sufficient: States and large corporations have a significant leverage power. French people seem to have become aware of the crucial role of politics in environmental issues, as shown by the results of the last municipal elections, in which lists led by the Europe Écologie/Les Verts (EELV) party were elected to head several large cities.

The European Commission's recent commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, President Emmanuel Macron's positioning as a "climate champion" and U.S. President Joe Biden's pledge to invest massively in the fight against climate change are examples of political support.


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