Since 2009, UN CC:Learn has trained and engaged with thousands of young people from all over the world. People up to 35 years old make up the bulk of users registered on UN CC:e-Learn and, over the years, thousands of youth have participated in UN CC:Learn events, from the Youth Climate Dialogues and Climate Classrooms to TEDx events.
In 2021, UN CC:Learn launched its 5th implementation phase (2021 – 2025) which has a strategic approach to youth. Over this period, the programme aims to help young people, especially from developing countries, to learn about climate change and to apply their knowledge in ways that encourage climate mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, the programme wishes to leverage youth innovation and motivation to challenge the status quo and ramp up climate action globally.
To reach these ambitious goals, UN CC:Learn set out to learn more about this age group.
Against this background, the programme launched the Youth and Climate Change Survey in September 2022 to get insights into youth’s preferences and habits to help inform, shape and tailor UN CC:Learn’s youth initiatives and content to youth’s expectations and needs. The 25-question survey is still open and available in 7 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish).
Its first set of analyzed data was collected from September 2022 and March 2023 and, during this period, 6,458 young people from 178 countries answered it. The responses received shed light on youth’s perception of climate change, what they are doing to deal with it and how they would like to learn more about. In addition, the answers made clear youth’s preferences in terms of content consumption and learning preferences.
Here are a few key findings:
1- Youth feel they are being affected by climate change.
When asked how climate change is affecting them, 77% pointed out that climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as droughts or storms, 45% said there is a disruption in the availability of resources and 35% are suffering eco-anxiety.
2- Youth want to learn more about climate change.
Respondents also want to learn about climate change in different settings. Regarding the type of learning event, they would be interested in attending to learn about climate change, 64% prefer to attend workshops, 55% would like to take part in a training, 51% would take e-courses or attend an experience-sharing with other youth groups.
3- Youth are taking climate action.
Here below are a few testimonials submitted by respondents:
“I developed a social project to combat fast-fashion and I participate in a student group where we clean public areas.” (Boy from Mexico)
“Help planning the local conference of youth, an event in the town I live, where young people create ideas they want to get discussed at the COP. Started to study Environmental- and Bioresource management.” (Woman from Austria)
“I created an Association of Environmental Sustainability in rural area and through it, I have been educating my community through the introduction of sustainability concepts, and awareness to not cut down the forest (they use trees to make fire to cook, sell, produce charcoal, etc). To not flame the field during the preparation of rice plantation, maize, and use biofertilizer. I trained young people about the meaning of sustainability and how we can reduce gas pollution emissions.” (Man from Mozambique)
“I am a med student and at my university, I created an activity called Recycling Life where we collect bottle caps to sell and buy treatment for kids who suffer from Epidermolysis Bullosa.” (Woman from Peru)
4- Youth prefer informative videos to other types of content.
More than half of respondents would prefer to receive content on social media in video format (69%), image (62%), and/or through articles (52%). They are less interested in podcasts (27%), live sessions (20%), and games (14%). In terms of communication and language style, 77% of youth are interested in receiving informative content on social media and less interested in consuming informal content (32%).
Moving forward, UN CC:Learn will build on the findings of this survey to devise projects, initiatives, and content to achieve its Youth goals. The programme has come up with five key recommendations to help strengthen its Youth initiatives and, ultimately, support youth climate action.
To get the full picture of the respondents’ profiles, survey methodology, key findings and recommendations, access the Survey report here.