Study: Some Children Find Nature Experiences Distressing Because of Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t CFACT – According to a new study, children are so upset by climate change they don’t enjoy contact with nature. The study authors advocate more research into helping children cope with climate change and environmental degradation.

The abstract of the study;

Childhood nature connection and constructive hope: A review of research on connecting with nature and coping with environmental loss

Louise Chawla
First published: 05 August 2020

Within a generation, children’s lives have largely moved indoors, with the loss of free‐ranging exploration of the nearby natural world, even as research indicates that direct experiences of nature in childhood contribute to care for nature across the life span.

In response, many conservation organizations advocate connecting children with nature, and there has been rising interest in measuring young people’s connectedness with nature, understanding how it relates to their well‐being and stewardship behaviour and creating programs to increase connection.

This article reviews the literature on these topics, covering both quantitative and qualitative studies. It notes that this research emphasizes positive experiences and emotions, even as global environmental changes and biodiversity loss accelerate.

Young people’s emotions of worry, frustration and sadness as they learn about environmental degradation also express their understanding that they are connected to the biosphere. Therefore this review includes research on how young people cope with information about large‐scale environmental problems, and it identifies practices to sustain hope.

The review concludes by suggesting how research on connection with nature and coping with environmental change can benefit from integration.

Read more:

Here’s a radical idea; how about society eases off abusing children by filling their minds with miserable scientifically unsound predictions of imminent climate catastrophe, so they can just enjoy being kids?

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TG McCoy
August 8, 2020 10:22 am

“How Dare You!”
/s Greta Thundberg climate puppet.
Kids are afraid of nature and their own shadows.

Joel Snider
Reply to  TG McCoy
August 10, 2020 10:44 am

Kids are afraid because they’ve been taught to be – that’s the job of public schools these days – promotion of fear and hate.

Michael in Dublin
August 8, 2020 10:28 am

No single child in the world can say they have felt a significant increase in temperatures or seen a noticeable decrease in rainfall over say a short ten years of their lives say between the ages of 9 an 19. This is no different from being scared of the dark because of horror stories. Sadly. it has been the adults – who ought to know better – who have been telling the horror stories.

Curious George
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
August 8, 2020 11:53 am

Why don’t we forbid the four seasons? They are very distressing to children.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
August 8, 2020 3:32 pm

It is not surprising that children do not enjoy nature any more. Every school activity “connecting” with nature is now just a vehicle for the climate activist teachers to start harping about how it is all being destroyed and promoting their anti-carbon lies.

Instead of learning how powerful and wonderful it is , they are having their heads stuffed with a narrative about how “fragile” it is, that there is a mass extinction going on and how its all turning to shit and nasty humans are all to blame.

They are being taught to hate themselves. How could they possibly be happy.

Reply to  Greg
August 8, 2020 5:59 pm

They have been turned into climate snowflakes!

The irony couldn’t be more laughable!

Reply to  Greg
August 8, 2020 9:28 pm

Greg, not all Teachers are climate activists – and when they reveal the other side – most teenagers do not want to hear about it – they’ve already been indoctrinated by the mainstream media, as have their teachers.
When you try to reverse some of this using many different types of teaching tools – you still come off as the bad person but not as much lately
– and they know how hard I try v to reverse this and there is a growing body of people including teenagers that are no longer ‘believers in doomsday climate scenarios’ – although not growing fast enough?? – but beliefs are v. difficult to change – just look at religion for example. And the mob mentality has reigned supreme in human nature throughout our history.
And it doesn’t pay for anyone including politicians to go against the mob – so many just remain silent – so really you have no idea what most people think!! But if Trump gets back in then I’d say in general the adults who vote in America are not that concerned about what the doomsdayer’ s are preaching

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
August 8, 2020 8:38 pm

Oh, for Pete’s sake, none of these kids are ever going to have the fun of building snowmen or sloshing through the woods on the trail while wearing snowshoes, or doing a bit of cross-country trail skiing because their parental units are idiots.

How can anyone justify doing this to kids?? How? How will these dorkwad parental units explain the deep snows and cold of winter – NORMAL WEATHER, people! NORMAL!! – when the planet is supposed to be burning up and isn’t?

August 8, 2020 10:35 am

Just play the CNN video again of Anderson Cooper standing in a ditch filled with water, while reporting on some hurricane and the inevitable flooding that is ‘happening, while another network camera pans out and shows land everywhere and Anderson standing a ditch with chest waders on almost up to his shoulders in water. If enough of these outright lies and half truths are continuously exposed, hopefully the children will see there is no looming catastrophe from climate change/global warming. There is nothing to fear but fear itself, which should be a slogan for the climate change movement. Unfortunately, there are a lot of hucksters out there trying to sell fear.

Reply to  Earthling2
August 8, 2020 12:24 pm

Or the female reporter in a canoe while two people walk right behind her in ankle-deep water.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
August 8, 2020 9:30 pm

Or the male reporter leaning into hurricane force winds – while a bunch of upstanding (literally) fame seekers are waving their hands behind him.

August 8, 2020 10:44 am

They should be taught about the greenhouse gas fairies of water and carbon dioxide that make plants grow.

Reply to  Scissor
August 9, 2020 5:10 pm

And also about the bovine carbon storage units.

Bruce Cobb
August 8, 2020 10:46 am

“Here’s a radical idea; how about society eases off abusing children by filling their minds with miserable scientifically unsound predictions of imminent climate catastrophe, so they can just enjoy being kids?”

Greta Angry face. How Dare You!

David A
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 8, 2020 11:29 am

“The Statist ruin everything”

August 8, 2020 10:46 am

Above normal, below average, never the natural range, is psychological abuse. Think of the unPlanned children!

Bill Powers
August 8, 2020 10:46 am

They need to be told that there is no problem and to go about livin, learnin and lovin. And by the middle L to focus on learning the truth not horror fiction stories.

The Educational/Media Complex at the bidding of the Bureaucrats who are managed by the faceless cultural elite who buy the puppet policians as placeholders, have so damaged the collective amygdala of everyone under the age of 30 that they run and hide from life rather than live it. The view nature and each other from their prism of their smartphones and that is all the closer they dare come to living.

August 8, 2020 10:48 am

Without preconceived notions poured into their heads, children experience nature for the first time. It is new to them and they have nothing to compare it with. It just is what it is.

The only way children can be upset by environmental loss is that they are told about it. Of course the people filling the children’s heads with crap also have no clue about nature.

I fully agree. End the child abuse. Now we have a study that shows how harmful it is.

Joel O'Bryan
August 8, 2020 10:54 am

Creating a generation of bed-wetting Eric Holthaus’.
It’s why we cannot let the Marxists win… or even come close to power.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 8, 2020 12:17 pm

Bed wetting Holthaus. (too much soy in that boy’s diet…)

Reply to  icisil
August 8, 2020 12:26 pm

Eric “Tofu” Holthaus.

August 8, 2020 11:28 am

We could ship all them all to farms and get them working out in the sun all day putting up hay, fixing fences, plowing, working in a garden, and taking care of the animals. Or, we could’ve before various State governments started putting in age restrictions for that kind of thing. Also, the concept may be a little bit Soviet, but the kids should really like that part.

J Mac
August 8, 2020 11:34 am

Climate Change is natural. Read ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and learn the allegorical lesson. Suck it up, Buttercup….

August 8, 2020 11:37 am

These authors missed the articles about the Congolese kids enjoying nature in the mines producing the wind mill parts. There are kids all over that would benefit greatly from a rational view of human interaction with nature.

Reply to  DMA
August 8, 2020 5:18 pm

I agree DMA, they need to put some truth into the education system regarding the CCC.

It would go something like this “Now… insert latest PC correct version of a collection of young people…today we are going to show video footage of the small children in the Congo who are risking their lives mining cobalt and copper with their bare hands in order to eat. Now large numbers may in fact die or have already lost family members. Don’t ‘you’ feel lucky? Because of the degradation of these people and their land, you get to enjoy millions of hectares of of solar panels carpeting what used to be agricultural land, forests
and ancient peat bogs and meadows. And if not solar then wind turbines which takes up even more land, of course there used to be many more birds and bats…well sacrifices must be made to save the environment.

Thank you for your attention (?) Over the next few weeks we will be covering other developing countries and look at the poverty and degradation they too are living in to enable us to live the life we do. And down the track we can look at they devasting environmental damage that’s being done in these developing countries…but it’s alright (?), we don’t have to live there. And of course we must cover the responsible recycling of renewables. We all know it would be irresponsible to put that nasty toxic waste back into the environment, so we bury what we can get away with, and send the toxic materials back to the developing countries. After all that’s where it came from
and they know more about dealing with toxic waste than we do. Though I do wonder why these recycling plants over there look like dumps, and that there are children rummaging through them. Well that’s it for today, looking forward to next weeks lesson!”

Reply to  Megs
August 8, 2020 9:32 pm


Bruce Cobb
August 8, 2020 11:41 am

Would it be considered child abuse to pry their fingers from their smart phones before shipping them off into “nature” (probably the local park, but hey, better than nothing)?

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 9, 2020 2:56 am

I agree wholeheartedly with Bruce Cobb.
Nowadays wherever you go you see kids, and adults, transfixed to their smartphones. In the streets, cars, restaurants and at the dinner table at home. No wonder they don’t get to experience nature and the outdoors, and are getting bad at social interaction.
When TV first came out some people called it “the idiots lantern”, which could be a good name for the smartphone.

Doug Danhoff
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 9, 2020 12:00 pm

This is why I long for an EMP….sometimes

August 8, 2020 11:46 am

What I find distressing is the sacking of Cliff Maas by his employer KNKX, a local Seattle radio station, for daring to compare some of the activities of the mobs “protesting” in Seattle to the Nazi brownshirts of the thirties. Even some of his (ignorant) followers on his own website have repudiated him. Here we have yet another instance of the mob ‘s power to dictate business policy and ruin individual lives, without a peep of protest by the media.

Reply to  alexei
August 8, 2020 6:09 pm

The Marxist Media has their own special agenda and the gall to insist upon it.

I pine for the old days of Walter Cronkite or Dan Rather where their hidden agendas were far less intrusive.

However, they were still feeding us a bunch of hog swill.
Maybe the blatant exposure we see today means we’ve finally turned the corner.

August 8, 2020 11:51 am

Green ideology for “sustainability” demands that populations are increasingly concentrated into inner city apartment living in order to minimize environmental footprints.

How are kids supposed to engage with nature while living in 1000 sq ft on the 23rd floor?

TikTok maybe? David Attenborough docos on Netflix?
Yeah that’ll do it 😦

August 8, 2020 11:59 am

“Children are so upset by climate change lies.” There, fixed it.

Coeur de Lion
August 8, 2020 12:07 pm

It’s not poor Greta Thunberg’s fault, dear love. She’s been used, encouraged, primed – because there’s BIG MONEY in it. How dare they.

August 8, 2020 12:28 pm

“Young people’s emotions of worry, frustration and sadness as they learn about environmental degradation also express their understanding that they are connected to the biosphere. Therefore this review includes research on how young people cope with information about large‐scale environmental problems, and it identifies practices to sustain hope.”

Until they turn 12, 13, or so, and MUST have that new iPhone and faster WiFi. They don’t give a toss about “climate change” at that point, unless it gets them out of school for a “protest”.

August 8, 2020 12:30 pm

There was an experiment done a long time ago that would never be allowed today. The experiment took children and introduced bunny rabbits. But every time a bunny would get close to a child a the experiments would make very loud disturbing noise. No surprise the experiment conditioned a child to fear bunny rabbits.

Wolf at the door
August 8, 2020 12:33 pm

So right Coeur de Lion.And shameful. And ,yes,evil.Children like Greta being used for both political and financial gain.A special place in hell awaits.Not used-abused.As I told the BBC.Of course they listened….

August 8, 2020 12:35 pm

I cannot help but wonder if nature itself is distressing to kids who grew up surrounded by concrete. To get out of a bubble is very distressing, especially to people who have spent most their life within the bubble. Nature has never been some idyllic paradise that eco-warriors claim it to be back before the evil CO2 gas. People invented air conditioner to escape the heat that already existed; it was not invented because suddenly it was hotter than it was before. People invented tractors, herbicides, and pesticides to save on labor; these were not invented because suddenly growing crops was more difficult. People started using plastic to protect food because of the germs that always existed; this didn’t happen because there were new germs.

Earth is not some garden of Eden. It never was. (If you want to get religious, the original garden of Eden paradise was only a small area.) When you preach to the children that the earth was perfect and in balance before hydrocarbons were used and then when they see how imperfect the real world is (and always was), it is distressing. People who have spent their life in nature, such as farmers, know how fickle it really is.

Bruce Cobb
August 8, 2020 12:48 pm

A Day of Reckoning is coming, perhaps ten years from now, or even less, when the then young adults discover that they’ve been lied to about “climate change” by parents, teachers, and others, people they trusted. Think Greta’s rage to the power of ten. It won’t be pretty.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 8, 2020 1:14 pm

I hope you’re right but I fear you may be wrong.

August 8, 2020 1:10 pm

These “studies” are probably all made up garbage anyway. Why bother wasting any time on them. I didn’t, the headline was enough.

My kids, now in their early twenties and all their friends are great outdoors-people. They have been for years.

August 8, 2020 1:11 pm

Has anyone considered that perhaps the “worry, frustration, and sadness” might just be due to the LACK of “connectiveness with nature”? (Likely not). Anecdotal, I know, but in my experience, those who are more “connected” tend to worry less about the future of “nature”.

Reply to  TonyG
August 8, 2020 6:03 pm

Exposure to nature is good. Even better attitude adjustments occur for snowflakes when they are somewhere for a couple of weeks where they’re not at the top of the food chain without a rifle readily available.

high treason
August 8, 2020 1:11 pm

Childhood fables all have a real message. They are intended as subliminal messages to wake them up from corrupted adults and their insidious ways.
The Emperor’s new clothes- the most flagrant one of all. It should be obvious that we are in the delusional world where we are threatened to believe absurdities. Note that the boy that rejected the intimidation is a hero-a true leader.
The Boy who cried wolf-if you continue to listen to BS artists, calamity will strike. Just look at how people are happy to swallow BS and catastroporn. Why does any sane person continue to believe predictions from “experts” who get things terminally wrong repeatedly.
The man, the boy and the donkey-blindly doing what others tell you to do on trust so as to not hurt their feelings will cost you very dearly indeed. You cannot please everyone. Politicians ignore this lesson, which is going to destroy Democracy and civilization.
The Pied Piper-children led to Utopia by appealing messages-to the detriment of themselves and society. The lame boy , who represents the social outcast is the only survivor.
These tales have a salutatory effect. Not enough credit is given to them. It certainly seems like the parents of today’s indoctrinated children did not take heed of the lessons from the immortal tales.
At present, it seems that many have evolved in to dung beetles- able to swallow limitless amounts of bovine excrement. Those that refuse to swallow the excrement and chase it down with Kool Aid are demonized , just as in the Emperor’s new clothes.
Perhaps ALL parents must read these immortal tales to their children over and over until they get it. No hot chocolate and cookies for any of them until they see the messages in the tales.
As for the BS study, it looks like a way of getting themselves on to a gravy train-being paid to spin their own fairytales for a cushy income stream.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  high treason
August 8, 2020 1:27 pm

Examples of the Emperor’s New Clothes are all around us now. Much of this blame can be placed squarely on a media that tore-up standards of journalism, and also allowed science reporting jobs go to Liberal Arts majors with no science training or formal education. Ideological influences now strongly permeate all the reporting in many outlets.

The media has become complicit in the mass delusions of climate change alarmism, the quiet acceptance of the culture lies that systemic racism exists in police departments across America, absurdities in environmental claims like that even if Arctic Ocean becomes ice free in the summer (speculative) that that is somehow a catastrophe.

Russ Wood
Reply to  high treason
August 9, 2020 5:03 am

On “The Emperor’s New Clothes” – Terry Pratchett had a possible ending where the Emperor’s armed guards rounded up the watchers and said “Right! None of you heard that! Did you? Did you?”
And doesn’t it seem like the kind of thing that’s happening today?

Gregory Woods
August 8, 2020 1:13 pm

Ten years from now, and climate is pretty much the same as it always has been. What to do: Move the goalposts….

Smart Rock
August 8, 2020 1:13 pm

Young people’s emotions of worry, frustration and sadness as they learn about environmental degradation

This just confirms what we already knew, that the brainwashing of children about climate change has been a success. The short version of CAGW has been force-fed to kids by almost every primary school teacher in the western world. They also offer redemption by way of eliminating fossil fuels by 2030, or 2050, or whatever the current deadline is.

In other words, kids are being groomed to accept the lives of hardship and austerity that they will face when cheap energy is a thing of the past. Because they will be saving the planet.

August 8, 2020 1:19 pm

“as they learn about environmental degradation ”

If they are really worried about the degradation of the natural environment….

they should put an immediate stop to the building of wind turbines

Carl Friis-Hansen
August 8, 2020 1:28 pm

A few phrases from my own childhood:
Children! Go out and help your dad with the harvest!
Children! Put your boots on, we’re going for our evening walk!
Children! Pick up the rubbish you just through on the ground!
Children! Are you ready for your week-end scout trip?

Don’t try this today, instead you say:
Children! Remember your smart phones and don’t scare the last living polar bears with it!
Children! Be careful what skeptics tell you on FB and similar educational forums!
Children! Listen to angry words of Greta Thunberg and learn to see the evil CO2!
Children! Time you tell us what your parents and grand parents did wrong all along!
Children! Learn not your ABC, but the official Catastrophic Climate Change Policy!

August 8, 2020 1:56 pm

Within a generation, children’s lives have largely moved indoors

But it has nothing to do with climate or weather.

Today such children will spend most of their time indoors, often with adults rather than with siblings or friends, be supervised more closely, be driven everywhere rather than walk or cycle, take part in many more organised activities and, probably for several hours every day, engage with a screen of some kind. All this is done with the best of intentions. Parents want to protect their offspring from traffic, crime and other hazards in what they see as a more dangerous world, and to give them every opportunity to flourish.

EdA the New Yorker
August 8, 2020 3:30 pm

I’m surprised that no alarmist report has been published, as yet, on the northward migration of the candiru due to global warming. Just think how much parents would be willing to pay the government so that “little Johnny” can go for a lake swim with his scout troop.

August 8, 2020 3:53 pm

This is the real tragedy of climate change. It’s that our relationship with nature is now based on fear and
the perceived evil of human existence rather than respect and an appreciation of natural world.

in a way, I miss agenda 21. Fear is unsustainable.

August 8, 2020 4:10 pm

School teachers are to blame, not the weather.

August 8, 2020 4:20 pm


August 8, 2020 4:43 pm

Kids where the last defenders of nazism, denouncing their parents to gulags, perfect killing machines in Cambodia or Africa. They know how to prime them. This is a generational struggle to win the minds of the young again. The snowflake generation thatnever knew any pain. This is their Achilles heel. Once their forced into the real world their will crumble and become the defenders of their possessions (capitalism) like their flower power parent generation.

Mark Luhman
August 8, 2020 6:57 pm

It easy for a young child to be stressed by nature, the problem is today’s children do not know nature wants to kill you. It has nothing to do with climate change it been that way forever. We now have methods to protect us from nature most of the time except in the most extreme events. That was not true a a hundred years ago. When one had to use and outhouse you we rather familiar with extreme weather, 20 below on did not spend much time sitting and reading a Sears catalog in candle light, ditto for a thunder storm, in a blizzard you followed the rope or died. Summer time the mosquitoes and flies tried to carry you away. The problem with today children they have no idea what weather and mother natures stress is really is.

Reply to  Mark Luhman
August 8, 2020 9:35 pm

Good point. Early humans were tapped by glaciers in Beringia (present day northeastern Russia) during the last ice age. They survived winter temperatures as low as -100 degrees F. They’d laugh at our “problems.”

August 9, 2020 4:36 am

Someone should tell these poor brainwashed kids actual air pollutants have been slashed 60~98% (depending on pollutant) just since 1980:

Kids should actually be crying about the destructive re-education propaganda that’s being inflicted on them from their insane teachers, media, Internet and culture…

John Sandhofner
August 9, 2020 7:08 pm

“The study authors advocate more research into helping children cope with climate change and environmental degradation.” How about admitting the whole thing is a hoax and drop the scare tactics!! That will solve it quickly.

Reply to  John Sandhofner
August 9, 2020 7:30 pm

Totally agree John!

Alasdair Fairbairn
August 10, 2020 5:55 am

I enjoy these days, my time on Quora, fielding questions on the Climate. Often this means just putting right misconceptions built into the questions and at other times playing a form of “Agony Uncle” in trying to allay the mental stress invoked in the their minds.
Then I get into trouble with those severely infected with theCAGW virus and get many an ad-hominem comment. etc. To me the psychology of this is interesting, watching these people often unable to cope with inconvenient observations etc.
I also learn a great deal particularly when called to task on some errors in my pontifications.
There are a lot of very intelligent people out there also; willing to impart some of their experiences.
It keeps me out of mischief, or so I think👍🤔

August 11, 2020 3:55 pm

My grandaughter’s best friend(they live in Spokane, WA) is having anxiety attacks, seeing a psychologist for counselling(I think) and generally is extremely upset by what she has learned about “climate change” in school.

We met directly last year in St. Paul, MN for a few days. At the time she was working on a school project trying to recruit fellow students for a climate action group(sponsored by some sordid national organization) with little success. We talked several times about it. She hasn’t gotten any useful education in math or other sciences, other than propaganda about “climate change” and global warming. We talked about the accurate climate record. I showed her the graph, with 1936 still being the highest temperature in the USA ever. She really didn’t believe it was 26°F then compared to the average temperature of 11.49°F in 2019.(also a “hottest” year).
She also had extreme trouble understanding that the temperature today influences the temperature(and the weather) for the next day or two. That influence means that an average temperature is really a meaningless number when used in comparisons because it doesn’t come from random numbers. By definition a statistical average is only valid for truly random numbers.
My son recently told be she still is extremely upset about climate change. I hope and pray she can get over it.

Reply to  Philo
August 11, 2020 5:05 pm

I’m hearing more of these very sad stories Philo. Even my own adult son said to me recently that he was struggling to deal with the fact that his daughter’s wouldn’t grow up to enjoy the world that he lived in. Of course the thought that went through my head was no of course not it will be covered with solar panels and wind turbines. I can have discussions with just about anyone, but he’s made it clear that he has his own opinions. Of course I know that’s all that they are, opinions. I’ll push the boundaries with anyone else, but I won’t push my son away.

People need to educate themselves, and others. It’s not an easy thing to do but we have to be prepared to speak out about the things we know. A good starting point is, “did you know that…it’s quite compelling, I’ll send you a link”. Or words to that affect. Don’t overwhelm them with information, be selective about what you send them, try to choose authentic material. Some material has other embedded links which is a way of giving them alot of information in one email. After a suitable amount of time, ask them what they thought of the link. If they liked it then suggest that they share it.

We have to do something, the MSM will not put the truth out there and social media is in small bytes and is so full of spite it’s difficult to have a conversation. That’s why I’m not on it. Even when you send links you may find that people don’t want to talk about it. That’s why you need to choose the right material. And be prepared, you might get the silent treatment from some for a while.

It goes without saying that there is no place for insults, from either side. Others are only ignorant because they don’t know. I remember that place well. On that note be open to learn from others too, we’re always ignorant of something.

That sounded a bit like the scientific method. Know your subject well then present it. Sounds a bit simplistic. At least a lot of people sending out knowledge by email gets it out there on some level. Scientists don’t get to present their well studied information any more.

Maybe if we can get the message out that there’s alot that they aren’t be told, we can get some real scientists back into paying jobs with integrity. We have to start somewhere.

I for one am open to suggestions. I said no insults.

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