Climate change is, without a doubt, one of the most pressing issues of our time. The consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels affect all of us in various ways, from drought in California to hurricanes on the East Coast. No demographic will experience those consequences more than youth. They are the ones who will inherit this planet and ultimately pay the price for the inaction of older generations.
Despite the very real stake youth have in the climate change debate, they are very rarely given a seat at the table or even acknowledged by decision-makers. ACE has been working to rectify that: by closing the gap in climate science knowledge and then by helping youth to take action and make their voices heard. Judging by the results of the “National Online Survey of Millennial Adults – March/April 2014,” conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, youth are more than ready to take on the challenge of climate change.
The survey found that young people are paying attention and care deeply about the future of our planet. Here are some of the key findings:
- 76% of Millenials believe that the government should be more involved in protecting the environment from pollution
- 69% of Millenials want the government to specifically address the issue of climate change
- 80% of Millenials favor reducing carbon pollution
- 79% of Millenials favor a national policy requiring utilities to generate at least 1/3 of their power from renewables
With results like these, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen youth stepping up to take action in their communities around the country. From testifying at EPA headquarters to turning their schools idle-free, young people are taking a strong stand for climate action. What’s more, these actions will extend to the ballot box. 70% of those surveyed were registered to vote and 60% voted in 2012, while another 7% were too young at the time. As more voters come of age, politicians will ignore climate change at their own peril. Young people are learning the science and the consequences of inaction and they are acting on that knowledge.
While these stats speak to the awareness and passion of young people, to us here at ACE, the most telling stat was this one:
79% of Millenials believe young people have the power to change things
100% of us here at ACE believe that to be true and it’s why we do this work. Older generations created this problem but it will be the youth, who have the most to lose, that will fix it. They know the urgency and as Jason Mayeda from West Torrance High School wrote: “the world that future generations will inhabit will be shaped by the action or inaction that we choose to take now.”
Want to learn more about what ACE does to bring climate science to high schools across the country and help youth take action for a better future? Sign up for our newsletter today!