With climate scientists around the world sounding the alarms with regards to our carbon emissions alongside the destruction of many of the planet’s natural spaces, it’s no wonder that many young people in Cornwall and across the country are growing up with what’s become known as ‘eco-anxiety.’

Described by Psychology Today as: "a fairly recent psychological disorder afflicting an increasing number of individuals who worry about the environmental crisis," eco-anxiety is a relatively new phenomena that has been seen to affect the way people, particularly younger people, live their lives.

According to Anxiety UK, over one in ten British adults will likely experience a "disabling anxiety disorder" throughout the course of their lives, and this can be triggered by a number of stimuli. In the case of eco-anxiety, increasing access to information regarding the proposed effects of climate change could well be one such trigger.

One example is Jem Bendell’s paper ‘Deep Adaptation: a map for navigating climate tragedy,’ which reportedly sent many readers to therapy due to the depressing picture painted by phrases such as ‘climate tragedy’ and ‘near-term societal collapse.’

When it comes to addressing the issue of climate change, the very scope of the challenge can often cause people to feel helpless.

A report from the College of Wooster that looked at the impacts and implications of a changing climate on people’s mental health has claimed: "the ability to process information and make decisions without being disabled by extreme emotional responses is threatened by climate change."

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However, many young people in Cornwall are currently finding ways to manage the environmental challenges they have inherited for their futures – one of which is climate activism.

Jesse is 17 years old and is one of several youth spokespeople for Extinction Rebellion (XR) in Cornwall and was inspired to get involved with the group after seeing one of the XR protests in London.

Jesse said: "I guess, ultimately, throughout my whole life climate change has been an ever-present factor.

"It’s always been there, and it’s just been a progression in the amount of action and time it takes up from my day-to-day life, and this culminated a few years back when I started actively joining in with activism.

"Obviously, having always been there and having a presence in my life, it’s always caused some level of anxiety, and as someone growing up with this and feeling that it’s only going to get worse, I feel like I’d like to be doing something about it.

"When I saw that people were protesting on the streets of London after the first XR protest, and having a real impact on politicians, it felt like a way that, as a young person, I could have some sort of control over my future."

Jesse is also not the only person who has found hope for the future in the actions of Extinction Rebellion.

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Selma is a 22-year-old climate activist who also got involved with the climate action group after continually feeling that more needed to be done to protect the environment.

Selma said: "I never thought I’d be a protestor.

"When I was younger, I would always do it very calmly, I would write letters to the council, things like that.

"But, as I get older and look back, the replies are just pointless really.

"All these animals are still declining and no one’s doing anything.

"How do I help that?

"I have to speak out now, I can’t keep going in those ways."

Selma explained that she had always been anxious and somewhat introverted and would never have expected to be able to attend a protest with thousands of people, let alone read her own poetry at climate events as she has now done several times at events staged by the XR chapter in Portsmouth, where she lives.

While activism with a well-known protest group can help to alleviate certain anxieties and give hope for a better future, it can also attract criticism from those who believe such actions are politically motivated and used to spread certain agendas.

Such conflicts, if used as political ammunition, could limit the potential for large scale schemes that look to attract a wide variety of young people to take part in protests with thousands of other participants.

However, other, smaller scale solutions are also taking place.

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Megan is 17 years old and is part of a group of young Cornish Christians who were among hundreds of other signatories to a letter addressing G7 leaders ahead of the G7 Leaders Summit earlier this year.

The group were calling for leaders to take the environmental and ecological crisis more seriously by cutting CO2 emissions to zero, ending the funding of fossil fuels and supporting the world’s poorest communities that have been and will be affected by climate change.

Megan explained that just seeing the impacts of climate change on other parts of the world during her lifetime can be frightening.

She said: "Seeing it beginning to take place in our lifetimes, whether that’s the beaches where I live where litter has increased absolutely massively, or animals going extinct that we’ve always dreamed of seeing or read about in story books.

"That’s the realisation that these changes really are happening, that our children are going to be born into a world that’s very different, that’s a scary thought for a lot of young people.

"It’s frustrating and scary that there’s a lot of middle-aged white men making decisions but not taking any action when our time is running out.

"I think it’s going to be a miracle if people really make this change because it feels like this crisis has been going on for so long yet not been treated like one.

"But we have to be hopeful and we have to pray with confidence that something will be done."

If you're a young person and are experiencing eco-anxiety or any other kind of anxiety, you can contact No Panic's youth helpline on: 0330 606 1174

If you would like to get involved with XR youth, you can contact its integrations team at: xryouth.media@gmail.com