A survey, commissioned by Canon U.S.A to kick off their annual Envirothon, investigated where teenagers ages 14 – 18 stand on environmental issues. It found 63% of teenagers agree that the youth is not taking enough action to solve current environmental problems, but a majority of them are willing to do more. Many teens claimed that they explore new ways to preserve the environment, but schools do not sufficiently focus on this topic, so they turn towards the media as their key source of environmental information. The survey also revealed 75% of teenagers believe humans have had a major impact on climate change — a significant difference from the 40% – 60% range we have seen in recent surveys on American adults.
New Teen Survey Looks Beyond Millennial Generation
Cross-post from Sustainable Brands
by Bart King
Much attention has been given to the environmental awareness and motivations of the Millennial Generation, which includes people from roughly age 19 to 34. But a new survey of 14- to 18-year-olds gives a sneak peak at how these issues may play out for the following generation.
Canon U.S.A. commissioned the poll of 563 teenagers across the United States to kick off the 25th anniversary of the Envirothon, a Canon-sponsored, five-day competition at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, PA, where students test their knowledge on a variety of environmental issues. According to the survey, teenagers frequently look for new ways to help preserve the environment; at the same time they also expressed the need to go beyond the classroom to satisfy their environmental curiosity. Sixty-three percent of teenagers agree that kids their age are not taking enough action to help solve current environmental problems, and a majority of students are willing to do more, from volunteering to clean up public areas (56 percent) to recycling (85 percent) and reducing energy usage, such as spending less time in the shower (57 percent) and turning off unnecessary lights (85 percent).
The survey also looked at how teens get their environmental news. Older teens (16- to 18-year-olds) are more likely than younger teens (14- to 15-year-olds) to actively seek out information on environmental issues through websites or blogs (49 percent vs. 39 percent) and newspapers or magazines (47 percent vs. 32 percent).
Three out of four (76 percent) teens in grades six to 12 reported there are infrequent opportunities to learn about environmental conservation at their schools or in their classrooms. More than two-thirds (67 percent) of 14- to 18-year-olds turn to television programming and commercials to receive information about the environment. Only 56 percent report their school classes are a source of information about environmental issues.
Additional survey findings reveal:
- Teens are split on whether or not they would vote for a president based on their views on environmental issues; 49 percent agree that they would.
- Three in four 14- to 18-year-olds (75 percent) believe that humans have had a major impact on climate change, such as changes in temperature and rising sea levels.
- The top three environmental changes that many teens fear will impact the quality of life in their future are poor air quality (66 percent), global warming (61 percent), and poor management of garbage (59 percent).
- About half of 14- to 18-year-olds also think that de-forestation (52 percent), possible water shortages (51 percent), and not having enough energy available for electricity (47 percent) will impact their lives in the future. Rising sea levels are the least of their concerns; less than a third (31 percent) feel this will impact their quality of life in the future.
- Around half or fewer would be willing to lower their usage of heat (49 percent), carpool to school (49 percent), lower their usage of air conditioning (44 percent), or take public transportation to school (40 percent). A third or less of 14-to 18-year-olds would be willing to ride a bike to school (33 percent) or lower their usage of a computer (28 percent).