March 18, 2022 - ESG and Climate News
As horrific scenes from the invasion of Ukraine continue to roll in, there are signs of hope from the ongoing peace talks. When the conflict does inevitably run its course - hopefully soon - the world will be a different place.
The world is united against Putin. Even Switzerland, which remains neutral in nearly all conflicts, will join Europe in imposing sanctions on Russia. A long and growing list of multinational companies have shuttered their Russian operations and it is unclear how they will ever return.
The connection between the war and environmental issues continued this week as the EU moved to ban new investment in the Russian energy sector. With hopes to wean themselves off of Russian oil and coal, the EU has also announced a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds before 2023 and abolish all Russian fossil fuels by 2030. Even in the face of skyrocketing oil prices, the list of countries banning imports of Russian crude grew this week.
With Russian aggression in Ukraine causing a harrowing refugee crisis, US climate envoy John Kerry reminded us to consider the plight of climate refugees – over 100 million people by 2050 – who will be forced to leave their homes if the climate crisis remains unaddressed.
This week, the New York Times released a poignant article showing how existential threats like the war in Ukraine and the perils of climate change are having an unseen toll on global mental health. Although the physical toll of climate change is plain to see for all, the costs of climate change on mental health are hidden and less discussed.
The most recent IPCC report explains how increasing temperatures are associated with more severe mental health challenges, especially for young people. It also outlines the mental trauma caused by extreme weather events and a growing loss of livelihoods and culture. The NYT article tells some of the real-life stories of people suffering from mental health issues as a result of the looming threat of climate change.
A 2020 poll revealed that two-thirds of Americans are somewhat or extremely anxious about the impacts of climate change and over half are anxious about the effect it will have on their mental health. This ‘eco-anxiety’ – defined as the chronic fear of the irrevocable impacts of climate change on oneself and future generations – is something psychologists are increasingly seeing in the therapy room.
If you suffer from anxiety there are resources to help. This HealthLine article has some good recommendations on how to cope.
Gen Z seems to be the most affected by this environmental dread. A recent Lancet poll of 16-25 year olds found that 55% believe that humanity is doomed and 75% find the future a frightening prospect. Young people are struggling to find meaning in an unsure and frightening future.
Many gen z members are turning to activism as a positive outlet for their climate anxiety. It's also shaping how and where they are willing to work. A 2018 survey by Deloitte found that 77% of Gen Z respondents said they would only choose roles in organizations whose values aligned with theirs. A 2021 study in the UK found that 64% of 18-to-22-year-olds consider it important for employers to act on environmental issues, with 59% saying they would leave a company if it was not environmentally accountable.
Missed last week's ESG & Climate News? Check it out now and stay in the know: March 11, 2022.
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