The Lancet recently published a shocking survey in which it found that more than half of young people today believe that the human race is doomed.
Additionally, more than three quarters of them believe that the “future is frightening.”
As well, the same study showed that 60% of young folks are very concerned about global warming and that 45% of them say these fears impact their day-to-day life.
Is Humanity Doomed?
Things are not looking good for the planet.
In the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report, it becomes very clear that global average temperatures will rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius.
NASA says that the last seven years have been the hottest on record.
Some experts say that we’re already in the middle of the sixth mass extinction event on the planet and nearly 1 million species will disappear due to the climate crisis.
The Lancet says the damage is not limited to other creatures, climate change is killing the vulnerable in many nations too.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that says there has been a huge increase in the frequency and severity of hurricanes in the last 30 years.
And not one of the world’s major economies has kept to the promises they made in the Paris accords to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
However, we would argue that while there is a lot of work to be done, there are good reasons for young people to remain optimistic.
Human Ingenuity And Adaption
The figures we’ve quoted do paint a terrifying picture, but it’s important to remember that they are not the only figures in play and that while climate change, certainly, cannot continue unchecked forever, there are reasons for hope too.
The first is the evidence before our eyes, while it’s certainly true that people are dying due to climate change, in the last 20 years, fewer than half a million people have died in climate related events.
Now, that’s not a trivial number by any means, but with 7 billion people on the planet, it is also not an indicator that humanity is about to disappear any time soon.
In fact, it might be that at this moment in time, humanity cannot completely resolve the climate crisis and that, instead, it may have to adapt to live with it while it tries to mitigate the worst case scenarios.
A Good Track Record
As a species, we survived an Ice Age or two without disappearing from the planet and without the access to technology and resources that we have now.
Far from being “doomed”, we’re in a good position with many countries already realizing that there is a problem and already taking action to address the issue.
At the recent Cop 26 summit, all the 197 countries present reported that they were on target to see off the worst possible outcomes and were heading in the right direction to try and keep the 1.5 degree figure in sight.
The UN Chief Mr Guterres said afterwards, “I know you are disappointed. But the path of progress is not always a straight line. Sometimes there are detours. Sometimes there are ditches. But I know we can get there. We are in the fight of our lives, and this fight must be won. Never give up. Never retreat. Keep pushing forward”.
Real progress has been made on reversing global deforestation, reducing methane outputs, reducing coal use, aligning banking and finance with fighting climate change and more.
And most of all, there is a commitment to much more transparency going forward, you will be able to see when leaders keep their promises and when they don’t and use your vote to change those leaders that let you down.
Final Thoughts On Humanity Is Doomed
This is not the first generation of young people to believe the planet is doomed and as we’ve seen they’re right to be worried, some of the statistics are very grim.
However, we are not without hope, the impact of climate change has not yet been as severe as you might have been led to believe and world leaders are doing something, at last, to resolve the situation.
And most of all humanity has a track record of success in the face of adversity. There may be a time to give up on the human race but the time is not now.