Young people around the world including in the Americas region unanimously consider climate change to be the biggest threat facing the planet but many struggle to engage in meaningful action and have their voices heard, a British Council report published on 9 September 2021 has revealed.
The Global Youth Letter Report surveyed more than 8,000 young people aged 18-35 from 23 countries during January and March 2021 about their perspectives on climate change. The strongest and most prominent message that comes from the research exercise was that across 23 countries, there is a strong unanimous voice of young people in relation to climate change.
Main findings from the report
- 75 per cent of young people around the world report having skills to deal with climate change in their communities – but 69 per cent have never participated in climate action.
- Concern that voices of women and minority groups are overlooked in current climate change policy.
- 67 per cent of young people feel leaders cannot address climate change alone.
- More than 90 per cent of young people in Brazil believe that climate change is already impacting their lives. The three main effects of climate change young people in Brazil see are: 1. drought/heat waves 2. decrease in water sources 3. excessive rain/snowfall.
- 95 per cent of young people in Mexico agree that climate change is one of the biggest threats facing their country. The three main effects of climate change young people in Mexico see are: 1. unbalanced rain patterns 2. depletion of freshwater resources 3. loss of forest cover.
- Young people in the Americas region believe that leaders and policy makers have the power to ‘mainstream’ youth climate action and to engage youth in meaningful ways.
The findings from the reports have been used to write a Global Youth Letter, a plan of action setting out young people’s aspirations and recommendations around climate change. The letter directly addresses the policymakers and world leaders who will attend the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November.
Young people are encouraged speak up to tackle climate change, adding their own recommendations to be considered.
The 23 countries that participated in this report
Brazil, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Voices included from the Youth Perception Research in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
This research is part of the British Council’s The Climate Connection programme, which aims to bring people around the world together to address the challenges of climate change.