YTS Report: A Kids-Eye View of Climate Change

For Earth Day 2021, we wanted to give kids a platform to have their voices heard on environmental and climate issues. So, we asked kids to tell us which issues are most important to them and how they are making an impact. 

For Earth Day 2021, we wanted to give kids a platform to have their voices heard on environmental and climate issues. So in our recent conversations with our Youth Trend Spotting community (find out more about this here) we asked kids to tell us which issues are most important to them and how they are making an impact. 

In fact in school today, we were learning about the environment. We were in groups and we did plays on what we can do to help the planet.” Girl, 9

Thanks to mandatory PSHE education, at-home conversations with family, Sir David Attenborough documentaries and social media; this generation of kids and teens are well aware of the issues our planet faces. They are informed and want to help.

“I’ve learned about it in food and nutrition. I’ve learned about how far your food might have to travel to get to you.” Boy, 13

From an early age, kids have a simple understanding of sustainability and climate change. They know how picking up litter, choosing reusable bags, and protecting endangered wildlife are the steps that are needed to save the planet. We’ve dubbed these kids GenerationWhyNot, read more about it here.

“You can get a litter picker and go to parks. You can go in the morning and make sure the park is clean for everyone.” Girl, 6

Beyond classroom education, household-name Sir David Attenborough helps enlighten families on complex planetary issues. The landmark documentary Blue Planet II honed in on the damaging impact of climate change more than ever before. Its influence has hooked this generation of young people, and viewers have since dubbed it as the ‘Blue Planet’ effect.

Just as Attenborough has made it clear that we need to make lifestyle changes, kids admire young activists such as Greta Thunberg. Having launched a global movement of school strikes for climate with #FridaysForFuture, and sparked crucial conversations amongst adults and young people, it’s understandable why many kids we have spoken to find her inspiring. They support her efforts, and her message continues to be seen and spread at school and on social media.

“The way she is fighting for our world is cool.” Boy, 12

As kids reach their teens, their access to social media immediately exposes them to information about world issues. In a client study into diversity, every 13-16 year old who we spoke to said that they see a friend share or repost content about protests, injustices, and inclusivity almost every day. Where children once used the playground to explore and test new opinions, politics and interests amongst their friends, they are now likely to share, see or hear these through social media platforms.

Prolific digital stars are also engaging on the topic and speaking to kids. YouTube star MrBeast launched his #TeamTrees campaign in October 2019 to raise money to plant 20 million trees in honour of reaching 20 million subscribers on the video-sharing platform. Fellow YouTuber and former NASA engineer Mark Rober was part of the team behind the planning of the movement. Both have a large following, and they are incredibly popular with the youth of today, leading to an increased awareness of the subject. 

We can attribute the success of the #TeamTrees campaign to the fact that kids are eager to see the impact of their sustainable behaviours, and this campaign is evidence of an initiative or action having a positive result. How can more brands engage their audience to make sustainable choices and establish the benefits of doing so?

Online and offline, kids are more knowledgeable and engaged than they ever have been. They are constantly learning and actively implementing more sustainable behaviours for a better future. Speaking to kids, we understand that they are hungry to take part and want to do whatever they can to help.

Read next: How GenerationWhyNot are Leading Change