Many people experience 'eco-anxiety' and expect it to get worse in 2021

Four in 10 Americans have experienced "eco-anxiety" since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research. The survey of 2,000 nationally representative Americans revealed half of respondents have experienced this feeling, and 83% of those said they felt it for the first time after March 2020. In addition to that, results found 75% of respondents who've ever experienced eco-anxiety — defined as "a chronic fear of environmental doom" — said they're currently experiencing it. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Avocado Green Mattress, the survey delved into the top reasons respondents are experiencing eco-anxiety, and how these feelings are following them into 2021. Sixty-four percent said the top cause of their eco-anxiety is themselves or their loved ones being at risk of climate-related extreme weather like hurricanes, droughts or wildfires. That was followed by "watching media coverage of climate-related extreme weather" (56%), with "watching people not take environmentally-friendly actions in their day-to-day life" (45%) rounding out the top three. Unfortunately, this isn't likely to go away: of those currently experiencing eco-anxiety, 86% said they expect these feelings to increase throughout 2021. But there is some optimism, too — 65% of respondents believe we have a better chance to fight climate change now than we have in recent years. And almost the same number (64%) are hopeful we'll see progress in the fight against climate change in the next four years. "We're hopeful that optimism around the climate crisis will lead to action — because the time is now," said Avocado Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer Mark Abrials. "And we all have to do our part, from pressuring our elected officials, to voting with our dollar and choosing companies that support a greener, cleaner future." The survey found 69% of respondents believe it's important to purchase products from environmentally-friendly companies — and 24% said they always research a company to see if they're environmentally-friendly before making a purchase. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether companies are truly "green," and 43% believe they've seen companies participate in "greenwashing," where they spread disinformation with the aim of presenting an environmentally-friendly image. And, of those who've seen greenwashing, 72% believe they've fallen victim to false claims. Results revealed 23% of all respondents believe greenwashing is "very common," and another 36% believe it's "somewhat" common. The survey also found 76% believe there should be regulations in place, stopping companies that participate in greenwashing. "It's good business to say you're a 'green' company, but when it comes to doing good, action is all that matters," said Abrials. "To avoid greenwashing, don't take a company's word for what they do, look for third-party certifications that validate their claims. "Organizations like B Corp, Climate Neutral, the Global Organic Textile Standard for the highest standards of environmental and social responsibility, and 1% For the Planet for verified giving in support of these critical issues. It's up to each of us to do our homework and choose who we support carefully."