Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Terrified of climate change

hi sam, i don't know if this sounds stupid but i'm genuinely terrified of climate change. i love animals and they are suffering so much and it just makes me so depressed. i know this sounds a bit grim but i feel like world leaders are basically digging the graves of their children, of people my age because they seem to be doing nothing to stop the oncoming apocolypse and cop26 just seems like a lot of blah. have my parents generation messed up the world for me and any kids i may have in the future?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Worrying about the future is normal and can be different from other worries.

When you're worried about something specific it's something you can try and sort out, but when you worry about the future in general it's difficult to know how to begin to address that worry. It's also harder to cope with a worry about something that isn't in your control.

I can't tell you how climate change is going to affect us in the future, but I can think of a few ways you can try to help cope with your anxiety about it.

When you get worried about the world and something that’s often in the news, like climate change, it's easy to think it's all bad news. The things you see on the news and social media tend to be of things going wrong - but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of people doing something positive about climate change.

Finding the good news about climate change is harder but it's out there if you look for it. If you'd rather not find that kind of news then try to limit the amount of bad news you read because it will probably just stress you out more.

The year 2020 was a tough year, but it did show we can achieve great things when we put our minds to a problem and work together. Covid-19 has shown that when the world has to take action, people can adapt. When it was critical, most of the world shut down and went into quarantine for months and within 12 months a vaccine was created.

Climate change is different and will be a series of very hard problems, but it doesn't have to mean there will be an apocalypse. Even though scientists are telling us we will see the results of climate change in our lifetimes, we've shown that we can overcome those problems when we need to.

When you find yourself thinking too much about your worries, it's important to take some steps to look after yourself. Anxiety can have a real impact on your physical and mental health. Try to remember what you think will affect how you feel and this affects your actions. If you're feeling very stressed, the Calm Zone has some ways to try and help you feel calmer.

If you think about things that make you feel anxious you might then try to hide away at home and isolate yourself. It's important to break this cycle - you can't really control how you feel but you can control what you think and what you do. If you consciously take time to think about other things, meditate or distract yourself with activities – such as those found in the Coping Kit - it will help the way you feel.

If you wanted to talk about this with other young people you could try making a post on the Childline message boards to see how other people your age are coping with climate change worries. You can also always talk to a Childline counsellor about how you’re feeling.

I hope this letter has helped, thanks for sending it. Take care.


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter