World Environment Day: 80% of teens feel under pressure to save the planet, but aren’t learning how

 30 per cent of young people said they believe in campaigning for issues that bring about social change

Sarah Young
Wednesday 05 June 2019 15:43 BST
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The majority of young people feel their generation is under pressure to solve environmental issues such as climate change and plastic pollution.

To coincide with World Environment Day, which falls on 5 June 2019, The Body Shop polled 1,000 teenagers (aged 14-16) about their attitudes towards sustainability.

The survey found that 80 per cent of participants feel pressured to save the planet but don't think they are well-enough equipped to make a difference.

While 39 per cent said they “deeply care” about the impact humans are having on the planet, 44 per cent indicated they never or rarely hear about sustainability in the classroom.

Despite a lack of formal education on the issue, the research did show that young climate change activists like Greta Thunberg are inspiring young Brits to take matters into their own hands.

Around 30 per cent of participants said they believe in campaigning for issues that bring about political or social change or help save our planet, while 14 per cent admitted they have been involved in demonstrations.

Furthermore, a quarter (23 per cent) said they regularly sign petitions for issues they believe in.

The research also showed that a growing number of teenagers are being more active about sustainability at home with 80 per cent saying they actively recycle.

Half (50 per cent) of participants also said they use products that are ethically made and are not harmful to the environment or society.

As a result of growing interest from teenagers regarding global issues, The Body Shop has launched The Body Shop Educational Programme – a free curriculum-linked resource, created for teachers that includes lessons which explore global supply chains, sustainable business practices, following the story of the grower, retailer and consumer.

Pins Brown, head of ethical trade & sourcing at The Body Shop, said: “It’s fantastic to see that young people are hungry for more information surrounding sustainability and how they can actively contribute in driving change to make a positive difference in the world.

“We know that education is instrumental in helping to create such change and developed The Body Shop’s Educational Programme to give teachers instant access to free resources that bring real-life context and discussion of ethical, sustainable practices into the classroom to enable future generations to make informed choices on how they can enrich their own futures and those of others."

You can find out about some of the most influential teenage activists, from Greta Thunberg to Malala Yousafzai, here.

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