Helping Teens with Climate Change Anxiety
Live Online Event
Friday, September 25, 2020
NYSED and ASWB Approved for 2 CE contact hours
This workshop will review the facts of climate change and clarify a rational way forward with this global issue. Through material gleaned from teen interviews, how teens feel alone in facing this issue and angry about being left holding the bag regarding the frightening future of the planet, the instructor will address helping teens address climate change anxiety. When teens find parents and other important adults in their lives don’t want to talk about climate change and/or are not engaged, they have the additional burden of feeling disconnected from their primary attachments figures. This workshop will discuss stress management for teens and adults in the area of climate change, as well as the importance of finding community support around this issue.
In addition, we will address how the coronavirus crisis has once again validated that science is not just a matter of opinion. Science denialism underlies climate change. Our present COVID-19 crisis illustrates with terrifying clarity the perils of denying scientific data. The disastrous management of this pandemic can be a wakeup call to seriously credit scientific data on climate change. Clarity on this point can turn our present crisis into a moment of mobilization in the fight against climate change.
Racism in our political systems and environmental racism drive climate denial. To be successful politically and morally, principles of environmental justice are core to the fight against climate change. Some teens are ahead of their parents in recognizing this and need to feel their support. Some teens need help in perceiving this connection. This workshop aims to address the need for attachment and support of issues around climate change, teen anxiety, COVID-19 and environmental racism.
Evidence of Need: Through the presenter’s own informal teen interviews, as well as recent formal research, we know teen rates of anxiety are skyrocketing in response to information on the current and future effects of climate change. Teens are all exposed to climate change through social media. While some have found support by joining with teen activist communities, most are simply left in despair and thus are more subject themselves to escapist behaviors. Most have not found the adult guidance they need to grapple with this issue. Communities of color, and therefore teens of color, presently face the worst effects of the climate crisis in the US and abroad. It is essential for all of us to recognize that the fight against climate change is a fight for environmental and racial justice. Social workers in schools, community based mental health centers and private practice are key to offering teens direct support, as well as helping parents (and other caring adults) recognize the burden teens face and how adults can help. That is why this workshop is so important at this time.
As a result of attending this workshop, participants will be able to:
- Understand the basic facts of climate change.
- Recognize the emotions all teens experience in facing this frightening future as well as the increased burden on teens in economically stressed communities.
- Determine that racial and environment justice are core goals in fighting climate change.
- Learn how to guide parents (and other adults) toward effectively supporting teens in facing this crisis.
Judy Schneier, LCSW
Judy Schneier LCSW is a graduate of Barnard College (’85 BA Philosophy), the NYU Silver School of Social Work (MSW ’95), and the William Alanson White Institute’s Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Program. Judy has worked in clinic and school settings and currently maintains a full time private practice in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Judy first learned about climate change in 2006 by reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s series in the New Yorker. She helped produce two climate education events at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn. She facilitated viewings of the anti-fracking documentary Gasland at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn. Judy, as a member of the Sweet Action Poetry Collective, helped produce a fundraiser to support the work of 350.org and 350.org Brooklyn. Judy has attended Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leader’s training. She has two teenage sons.
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