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We're leaving young people out of the climate conversation

When we talk about climate solutions we're ignoring the young people in the room

Canada’s young people feel shortchanged about their future. Not enough is being done by the "powers that be" to prepare for climate change they are saying.

That is one of the findings in a recent study by Lakehead University researchers Lindsay P. Galway and Ellen Field. They surveyed young people in the 16 to 25 age range to find out how they felt about their future and climate change. The results were less than encouraging and pointed to adults as the source of their anxiety. Of those surveyed 37 percent said their feelings about climate change were having a negative impact on their daily lives and 73 percent went even further and said that the future is frightening.

Who did they blame? Government response to climate change is not working and there was a “greater feeling of betrayal than of reassurance”. To deal with their feelings the open-ended questions brought a variety of answers from,” "Trying to take part in initiatives that fight against climate change from the ground, as well as become a less wasteful consumer" to meditation, music, and reading. The study also revealed what the authors called a “climate of silence” where young people didn’t talk to anyone about how they were being affected.

Those surveyed felt that more climate change content in schools, more being taught about solutions, and having information about climate risk and urgency being part of their education would help support them when it comes to dealing with the climate crisis.  

That aspect of the study was of special interest to our guest on this week’s episode of the Renewable Conversations podcast. Ellen Field was one of the co-authors of the recently published paper about the study, and she shared her thoughts on the results with freelance broadcaster Don Hill.

You can read the study, ‘Climate emotions and anxiety among young people in Canada: A national survey and call to action’ by Galway and Field in the Journal of Climate Change and Health.
And there was some good news in the study by the way. A majority of the young people surveyed believed something could be done about climate change and that they could be part of those actions. 




This podcast is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.

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