Climate change scares most teens — and they’re reacting by taking action, according to a new survey.
The Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation published the survey results Monday. The findings couldn’t be more timely: Young people around the world are organising a massive climate strike Friday whose participants already include Patagonia, Lush and Ben & Jerry’s. Their businesses will be closed Friday in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike.
The survey, conducted between July and August, polled 629 teenagers living in the U.S. (ages 13 to 17) online and by telephone. Fifty-seven per cent of teen participants said climate change makes them feel afraid; 52 per cent felt angry, according to the survey.
According to the survey, the teens are doing what they can. About one in four have participated in a walkout, attended a rally, or written a public official to opine on the state of the climate, per the Post.
That’s something to celebrate — and this wave of energy is largely thanks to 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. She began the Fridays for Future movement in August 2018, skipping school every Friday to protest outside the Swedish parliament for the country’s inaction on climate change.
Teens aren’t doing this all alone, though, as the survey results show. The survey included the perspective of some 2,293 adults — and more than half also feel afraid. Exactly 50 per cent feel angry too, so their emotions aren’t that far off from how the youth are feeling.
Some 38 per cent of adults would call climate change a “crisis,” which is just a percentage point more than the teens. Both groups — 84 per cent and 88 per cent for adults and teens, respectively — believe there’s “still time to prevent the worst effects.”
Our youngest generations are going to bear the worst consequences of climate change, and that’s why they’re not letting this issue go. After all, they didn’t create this mess. This is the world they’ve inherited, though, and they deserve to enjoy it every bit as older generations have. Teens won’t let their fears stop them from taking action. They can’t afford to. None of us can.