Should Kids Worry About the Environment?

The green movement seems to have reached a tipping point. Everyone seems to be involved in what was a minority campaign only a few years ago. Companies are falling over themselves to appear to be greening their products or services, and consumers are increasingly aware of the impact of what they buy.

Strange then, that in a recent survey by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, only half of 11-17 year olds claim to be worried about climate change. As floods rage all over England they were less convinced that they would ever see the effects of it than adults. Even more bizarrely only 12% said that they were capable of making a positive change by altering their lifestyle.

Neil Verlanderof Friends of the Earth, said, "Young people are an important group. We have been trying different ways to reach them. Johnny Borrell from Razorlight recorded a new song in a studio powered by 18 solar panels in support of our campaign, and we ran a successful advertising campaign in universities, showing condoms covering a coal-fired power station chimney, a car exhaust and an aeroplane engine."Perhaps the results shouldn't be taken too seriously though; teenagers have other things on their minds. Small problems seem like the end of the world, whilst the potential end of the world doesn't even register. The same survey also showed that 91% of people aged 17 to 21 thought that in 25 years, the effects of climate change would be "hitting the world hard". Once people become more aware of society, politics and science, then they start to take notice.

Maybe we should accept this, and stop trying to force awareness onto them. They don't drive, they don't buy flights, install heating systems or run companies. Maybe we can afford to let them learn about it in their own time. Perhaps campaigns aimed directly at children are unnecessary and a waste of money. I'm not saying that children shouldn't learn of its existence, because they should, but school is the place for it, not marketing campaigns. ::The Guardian

See also ::School Goes Over the Top for Environmental Ed!