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Boston Museum of Science Survey Finds “Generation Alpha” Taking Up the Challenge to Adapt and Act on Climate

New poll spotlights opinions on climate change from kids across America

BOSTON, April 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — While kids across the country express sadness and uneasiness about climate change, they believe their generation will find solutions to address the problem and are inspired by the promise of innovation. These and other findings come from a new poll sponsored by the Museum of Science in Boston and conducted by the MassINC Polling Group that asked middle and high school students nationwide a variety of questions about climate change, environment, and their feelings about the future.

Seventy-two percent of poll respondents say climate change is already impacting their lives, and 53% believe it will be a major problem over the course of their lives. Over three-quarters (77%) think climate change will require radical changes to how we all live. These percentages are even higher among students of color.

Majorities say they think adults (56%), the government (55%), or corporations (61%) are doing too little to solve the problem. Instead, kids believe their generation will lead: 72% say their generation will find solutions to address climate change. The same percentage also say that, as they envision their future, it’s important that their job has a direct impact on reducing climate change and preserving the environment.

“These results speak to how engaging young people on climate change, empowering them to feel part of solutions, can counter feelings of climate despair,” said Tim Ritchie, president of the Museum of Science, Boston. “This is the opportunity and challenge for science centers around the world. We must work every day to meaningfully reach as many people as possible, meeting them where they are with facts and hope.”

Other findings include:

  • Students rank climate change and other environmental issues as the second biggest issue facing the world right now, after the economy/inflation/cost of living.
  • Most students (72%) say they think about climate change at least sometimes, but only 35% think about it often or all the time. Those who think about it the most are also the most hopeful that solutions can be found.
  • Students report that climate change makes them feel sad (32%), uneasy (30%), and helpless (28%). A quarter feel confused and curious (26% each). Slightly fewer report feeling challenged (19%) and hopeful (18%).
  • Sixty-nine percent say the adults in their life talk about climate change only sometimes or less often, with 68% saying the same about how often the subject is discussed at school.
  • As leaders work to address climate change, students think they should listen “a lot” to young people (56%), lower-income people (48%), and people of color (49%) more than to big companies and higher-income people (38% each).

“It’s evident from these results that young people, while rightly concerned about their futures in a changing world, are positively inspired by innovation, and focused on the importance of developing and implementing equitable solutions that will work for everyone,” said David Sittenfeld, PhD, director of the Museum’s Center for the Environment. “The findings also help us understand that engaging and amplifying youth voices about solutions to the climate crisis will provide young people with more hope that change is possible.”

The poll was conducted as part of the Museum of Science’s “Earthshot” initiative, a year-long series of programming, exhibits, and digital experiences exploring the most innovative climate solutions of our times and how they affect the ways we live, move, eat, and work.

The poll was made possible by the National Science Foundation.

About the Poll

These results are based on a national survey of 1,501 students in grades 6 through 12. Survey invitations were sent to parents and caregivers. After demographic questions, parents and caregivers were asked about the presence of a student in the target age group living in the household, and then for permission for the student to participate in the survey. To ensure final data reflected known and estimated population parameters, results were weighted by race, age, gender, and geography of students as well as caregivers’ education level. Targets were derived from US Census Bureau Figures. The credibility interval for this survey is +/- 2.8 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, inclusive of the design effect. This project was conducted by The MassINC Polling Group and sponsored by the Museum of Science, Boston.

SOURCE The Museum of Science

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/boston-museum-of-science-survey-finds-generation-alpha-taking-up-the-challenge-to-adapt-and-act-on-climate-302123223.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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