VIDEO. “If we go to another planet, it will be the adults’ fault”: six children describe their feelings about the climate crisis

“Greenhouse gas emissions trap heat on Earth”, exhibits Augustin, 12 years old. On the occasion of the COP26, which begins in Glasgow (Scotland) on Monday November 1, franceinfo went to meet the youngest to probe their perception of climate change. “A lot of things in our environment have changed over the years”, advance Romane, 14 years old. “There is global warming because of the electricity we make”, in turn tries to explain Colas, 7 years old.

At school, at home or on television, everyone has heard about climate change. “They don’t always understand the scientific details, but they do know the big picture.”, reports Laelia Benoit, child psychiatrist, who is currently conducting interviews with a hundred children on the subject. Faced with the phenomenon, they are very worried about the future consequences. “It triggers sadness, especially in relation to animals. They also feel anxiety”, explains the expert. “It will be so hot that there will be more desert. A lot of species will disappear, they are in danger like us”, is alarmed Arthur, 7 years old. “If there is no more animal species, how am I going to do my job later?”, wonders Augustin, “biologist” budding.

While the solution seems to them “simple” – “consume less”, “stop polluting”, “reduce your carbon footprint”, they present in turn – they do not understand the inaction of the greatest. “They don’t care, they think it has no interest and that nothing dramatic is going to happen”, deplores Arthur. “They are lazy, they are just lazy to do it, but it’s for them! If, in a few years, we go to another planet, it will be their fault”, accuses Nené, 8 years old.

Harsh judgments that Laelia Benoit has no trouble explaining: “As adults, we do things we shouldn’t do. We get to disagree with ourselves, that’s cognitive dissonance. Children can’t. a problem, we solve the problem. If smoking kills, we do not smoke. If the car kills the planet, we take the bike “, she explains.

“Kids are more prepared to make tough moral choices to get to the right places. They’re pretty inspiring about it.”

Laelia Benoit, child psychiatrist

to franceinfo

To cope with this anxiety or this incomprehension, the specialist invites communication with the little ones. “They need to know that their parents are aware of the problem and that they are getting involved”, continues Laelia Benoit. The climate crisis should not be a “a taboo subject”. “It’s a painful subject, a difficult truth. As adults, we have to accompany them, talk to them about their emotions”, she insists. The researcher also proposes to engage them in action in the face of climate change. “Taking individual actions helps with eco-anxiety. But also collective actions: doing things with the family, with the neighborhood association, their school … Acting together is supportive and reassuring. “

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