14 to 29 year olds: youth not as green as expected

Status: 11/22/2021 1:38 p.m.

Most 14 to 25 year olds in Germany are most concerned about climate change. But according to a youth study, most of them are not ready for a sustainable lifestyle. The bottom line is: politics must act.

According to a survey, climate change is the economic and social issue that worries most young people in Germany. 56 percent gave this according to the Study “Youth in Germany” an.

Accordingly, climate change drives 14 to 29-year-olds more than the future of the pension system (48 percent), the consequences of inflation (46 percent) or a division in society (44 percent. Nevertheless, the willingness to focus on oneself is low The authors of the study, the Kempten-based youth researcher Simon Schnetzer and the Berlin educational researcher Klaus Hurrelmann, determined that they should avoid car or air travel.

Around 60 percent of 14 to 29-year-olds are still regularly driving a private car. More than 80 percent cannot imagine life without a car. Only 19 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were willing to do without their own car on a permanent basis. Around a quarter (27 percent) no longer want to fly.

The avoidance of disposable plastic products meets with significantly more approval – 65 percent support this. 40 percent can imagine buying used instead of new goods, while 36 percent are in favor of buying fair products or organically produced food.

26 percent willing to forego meat

When it comes to eating habits, the majority of respondents (56 percent) eat without restrictions, but 44 percent also try alternative forms of nutrition. Around a quarter (26 percent) are willing to consistently forego meat. On the other hand, only 16 percent want to do without all animal products permanently.

Majority does not want to change habits

Education researcher Hurrelmann estimates: “The greatest antagonist of change is the comfort zone of the welfare state, in which the younger generation has settled down comfortably following the example of their parents.” In the study, he comes to the conclusion: “The vast majority are not yet ready to give up the habits they have become cherished in the areas of consumption, mobility, and nutrition and are waiting first for decision-making support from politicians.” And he goes on to conclude: “Under these circumstances, climate protection, which the majority of young people support, can only succeed with clear rules and guidelines from politicians.”

Corona continues to burden

The pandemic is also part of the study. 40 percent of the young people surveyed continue to complain about impairments in their psychological well-being. They suffer from a loss of control in everyday life (37 percent), deterioration in personal relationships (29 percent) and their educational and professional careers (20 percent).

The corona shock is only slowly subsiding. Most of the young people have come to terms with the changed conditions such as studying and working at home.

Politically alert, active generation

Basically, so the conclusion of youth researcher Schnetzer, the study paints the picture of a politically alert and active young generation. “However, the pandemic hit them at an extremely sensitive stage in their lives,” and they are only gradually recovering from the effects.

For the study, 1014 young people between 14 and 29 years of age were interviewed from October 14 to 22.


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