Among Global Youth, Climate Change Is the Most Important Issue
Last Friday in more than 150 countries, young people came out in force to participate in a massive climate strike. Scheduled in advance of this week’s UN Climate Emergency Summit, the goal of this walkout was to urge global political leaders to take a more urgent approach to curbing the use of fossil fuels. Led by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, an estimated 4 million people participated in the protest, which was likely the biggest day of climate action in history. On Monday, Thunberg addressed world leaders at the UN in a speech demanding that they take action. Another worldwide strike is scheduled for this Friday, September 27th.
In our recent Power in Progress study, we spoke to 11,000 young people in 10 countries to dig into how this generation is accessing and activating their power in new ways. Here’s what we learned about how people aged 13 to 25 respond to issues they care about:
Climate change is their #1 issue. Climate change came through as issue global young people are most passionate about, the one they’re most likely to have taken action on, and the problem they would most want to impact if they had more power.
For crucial issues, they feel called to participate. Nearly two-thirds (63%) say they feel a personal responsibility to get involved in important issues. Six in 10 believe it’s their generation’s responsibility to fix the problems they inherited.
Collectivism is their superpower. Almost 8 in 10 think that changes that matter take time and the collective effort of many people. Most (65%) believe that collaboration with others creates change, compared with just 26% who believe that individuals create change.
They feel their generation has the capacity to make a real difference. Among people 13 to 25, 61% think that their generation has more ability to positively affect change than others.