What do children think about climate change? What do they worry about? What are they frustrated about? What do young people want us to know about their experiences with this often overwhelming topic? If you know a concerned kid, they should know they’re not alone.
“Caroline Hickman is co-lead author of a study looking at how young people feel about climate change. They gathered responses from 10,000 people aged 16-25 in 10 countries around the world.”
This animation by Flock, a BBC Ideas Earth Day video in partnership with The Open University, amplifies some of the concerned voices of young people.
Hickman summarizes that at least three-quarters of young people feel that the future is frightening, almost half reported being dismissed or ignored when they tried to talk about climate change, and eight out of 10 said that people had failed to take care of the planet.
“So this is young people and children looking to adults, looking to older people, looking to people in power, and saying, “Why haven’t you done something about this?”
How do we have age-appropriate conversations about our warming planet? Ask kids what they’ve heard, and what they’re worried about. Then listen, look for the helpers, and find a local way to get involved and be a helper.
“My advice to adults, parents, teachers, is do not put it off, don’t push it away. Don’t save it up and just have that big conversation. Talk about it regularly. That’s crucial.
“And it’s OK for you to say to your children, ‘I don’t have all the answers. We’re not sure exactly how to deal with all of this. But let’s find out together.'”
This is the primary reason TKSST shares stories about climate solutions, all kinds of teamwork, and kids taking action. When people of all ages have the opportunity to do something meaningful, it can help combat anxiety and make a hands-on difference on our paths to sustainability.
Join or start a bike bus, take more public transportation, plant native plants in your yard, parkway, or outdoor spaces, compost, volunteer to pick up litter, ask schools and city officials to invest in solar, renewable energy, and green roofs, make your home energy efficient, and more.
There are lots of simple things you can do to take action toward net-zero emissions, including getting outside and learning about your local ecosystems.
The study, published in The Lancet, is titled Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about government responses to climate change: a global survey, and it included 1,000 participants in Australia, Brazil, Finland, France, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Related reading from NPR: A kid’s guide to climate change (plus a printable comic).
Related lessons via TKSST and more at Subject to Climate.
Watch these videos about climate change solutions next:
• How can nature be used as a tool to restore ecosystems?
• What is the Circular Economy?
• Do Cities Need More Green Roofs?
• Take Charge: RSC’s Global Battery Experiment
• The Surprising Places We Waste Energy
• Planet-friendly foods for gassy cows?
• Why are peatlands so important?
• Solutions for capturing and storing CO2? Caltech explains.
• America’s top composting city helps farms grow food & save water
Bonus: How To Solve Every Global Crisis.
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