Youngsters pessmistic about future

9th March 2017


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  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation

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IEMA

Most young people are anxious about climate change, with those in China singling it out the issue that makes them most fearful for the future.

Education charity Varkey Foundation polled more than 20,000 young people aged 15 to 21 in 20 countries, from Argentina and Australia to the UK and US, about their attitudes and wellbeing.

It found that 66% of those born between 1995 and 2001, known as Generation Z, were anxious about climate change, which came behind extremism and global terrorism (83%) and conflict and war (81%) as posing the greatest threat for the future.

The one exception was in China, where 82% of young people said they were more concerned about climate change than any other threat. Figures for the UK and US were 62% and 59% respectively.

Society’s ability to address climate change was seen by most respondents as more difficult than dealing with other issues young people were concerned about, including growing inequality, the ongoing refugee crisis and poor education provision in many developing countries. Nonetheless, 84% were optimistic that technology would solve problems in the future.

Overall, young people were pessimistic about the future. In 16 countries, more young people said they believed the world was becoming a worse place to live. Vikas Pota, chief executive at the foundation, said: ‘Young people are a generation that is deeply pessimistic about the future of the world. They are not strongly influenced by politicians and think that their governments are doing far too little to solve the refugee crisis – one of the greatest challenges of our age.’

Respondents were also asked why their country was a good place to live. Young Italians (45%) and Indonesians (30%) cited the natural environment as the main reason they liked their homeland.


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