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Climate Action
Societal Resilience

Understanding Climate Anxiety and Messaging in Climate Change Communication

hurricane image

People across the globe share concern about climate change and its impacts. This climate anxiety, or ecoanxiety, can lead to a lack of a sense of agency, and thus inhibit climate action.  To avoid this pitfall requires a deeper understanding of the roots of climate anxiety and its connection to how climate change science is often communicated. Seeking a clearer picture of the psychological impact of climate change on young people, Michael Mann, Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, leads a research community to advance an understanding of the differential effects of climate change on young Philadelphians.

This research community is recruiting middle and high school students who were affected by Hurricane Ida, which hit Philadelphia and Montgomery counties particularly hard in September 2021, causing historic flooding. Goals include gaining insight into the students’ emotions, thoughts, and beliefs about climate change; the extent to which they may be experiencing climate anxiety and distress; and how their beliefs and concerns connect to climate science communication and messaging.

Project Type:
Current Communities
Professor Michael Mann standing in a garden

(Photo: Eric Sucar/University of Pennsylvania)

“…more research is needed to address these feelings so that science communication can pivot to collective action to actually address climate change and climate anxiety (i.e., turn individual hopelessness into meaningful collective action).” – Michael Mann, SAS - Annenberg