A new national survey of seven- to 14-year-old children found that 65% are frightened of climate change and almost a third feel powerless to make a difference.
The Eden Project commissioned Generation Alpha experts at Beano Brain, a kids’ insight consultancy from Beano Studios, to survey more than 1,000 seven- to 14-year-olds and their parents to gain insight into their attitudes and understanding towards the topic of climate change.
The study showed that while 30% of the children surveyed do not think they can make an impact, or perhaps do not know how, 81% want to learn more about how they can help the planet.
Temperature (59%), the ice caps melting (53%) and rising sea levels (51%) were considered the things most impacted by climate change, according to the young people questioned.
When asked who should take responsibility for mitigating the impacts of climate change, 67% of the surveyed children felt that everyone has a part to play.
However, a staggering 85% agreed that people in charge, like the government, should be doing more.
Other insights found that children trust their teachers (47%) among the top sources of reliable information on climate change, closely followed by parents (46%) and environmental charities (40%).
And while feeling powerless about making an impact ranked highly, many children are exhibiting one or more green behaviours, such as using reusable water bottles (59%), turning off lights and appliances (52%), cycling or walking more (48%) and having showers instead of baths to save water (47%).
Climate change came sixth among children’s Top 10 worries, after family health, exams and tests, bullying, relationships with friends and not having enough money.
Encouragingly, the survey found that two-thirds of young people engage in some form of activism.
One 10-year-old girl who took part said: ‘I think adults should be more worried and doing more. Kids can’t drive and we don’t choose what to eat.’
‘As an educational charity with a mission to teach, inspire and provide hope to visitors of all ages, Eden believes this study is invaluable in helping us understand how children feel about the world around them.
‘It’s heartening that children, even those as young as seven, show a significant interest in the subject and a desire to make even small changes, and it’s our role to introduce, educate and reassure the next generations of the tangible differences they can make and alleviate feelings of hopelessness.’
Eden’s head of insight
The results are revealed ahead of the Eden Project’s summer programme themed on Britain’s best-loved comic, Beano.
The activities on offer during the summer holidays are designed to introduce families and children to the idea that how we travel, what we wear, eat and buy and how we consume energy can affect our carbon footprint and the simple changes they can make through site-wide adventure, stories, games, puzzles and crafts.
The focus of entertainment will be a bespoke Eden Beano comic strip that will guide visitors on a journey around the lush gardens and Biomes discovering activities and missions to help them earn their black and red stripes and defend the planet from the real menace – the CO₂-Zilla.
Other activities include a Cork the Cow game, where participants have a certain amount of time to ‘cork’ cows’ methane emissions while introducing them to simple choices they can make to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Showing off eco-travel skills on a scooter and skate ramp, upcycling old clothing and an escape room-style adventure inside CO₂-Zilla’s emissions lair are among the many activities on offer over the summer holidays.
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