by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Collin Anderson of the Washington Free Beacon reports on another dubious Biden administration plan.
The Biden administration plans to use taxpayer funds to inspire and support young climate activists in developing countries—even as it acknowledges that young people suffer from “climate-related mental health conditions.”
President Joe Biden’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) last year released its 2022-2030 climate strategy, which outlines a $150 billion “whole-of-Agency approach” to building an “equitable world with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.” Included in that effort is a pledge to support “behavior change and communications campaigns” that “encourage youth’s active participation” in the climate movement. Young people, the agency says, “have emerged in recent years as key actors … in demanding government action to tackle the climate crisis,” prompting USAID to increase its funding for “youth-led organizations” working to fight climate change in at least 40 partner countries.
Still, that effort comes with challenges. While young people make great climate activists, they also experience “a broad range of climate-related mental health conditions,” according to the agency’s strategy document. Any effort to support young climate activists, then, must also include support for “programs at scale that address these issues.” USAID’s strategy document specifically calls to recognize the “growing importance” of young people suffering from “eco-anxiety,” which the American Psychology Association describes as “the chronic fear of environmental cataclysm that comes from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change.”
The USAID plan reflects Biden’s government-wide mandate to fight climate change. Just one week after taking office, Biden in January 2021 issued an executive order calling on all government agencies to “combat the climate crisis with bold, progressive action.” Even the Department of Veterans Affairs responded in August 2021 by releasing a “Climate Action Plan,” and USAID—which had not released a new climate strategy since 2012—followed suit roughly a year later.