Students thoughts about Climate Change


Have you had the “climate change conversation” with your teen or college student? What do they think about the earth’s future, and your role and their’s in protecting and nurturing it? Our intern Michelle decided to find out what some of her college friends were thinking. Check out their responses and then “check in” with your kids and let us know what they are thinking…!

Guest post by Michelle Aboodi

Soon enough children and teenagers alike will be packing for school, teachers will be preparing lesson plans, and parents will get ready for the routine – the

Used with permission

last thing any of us need is to worry about the pollutants outside our door or pipelines taking over our precious land and water sources. I set out to uncover the thoughts of other students on climate change. By asking four questions, I learned a lot about the knowledge, understanding, and fears students have on climate change.

Credit: Shutterstock

I began with the question: what is your understanding of climate change? The answers were split down the middle. Some students said they had a basic and simple understanding and others said they had a deep understand. What they all understood was that it is happening and there was no disputing that fact. It is reassuring to know that students are aware, but it is such a pressing issue that the fundamental knowledge and science behind climate change should be known as clear as multiplication tables or the American Revolution. We have the tools; it is all a matter of using them to ensure that students are aware enough to enact change.

To follow the question on students understanding of climate change, I asked what they felt their environmental responsibility is. All students consciously knew that they should make an effort to have zero impact on the earth, but they do not seem to have an adequate knowledge base or sufficient access to the tools that allow for a “greener” environment (i.e. recycling, composting, alternative fuels).

Similarly, the third question connected to the second: how do you participate in protecting the environment and promoting sustainability? The small things seem to be what people do – turning off lights, unplugging electronics, recycling when possible, and not using plastic bags. The basic actions are taken, but all that students are doing are what they can do without taking on their own initiatives. If infrastructures were put in place everywhere like recycling and composting, people would become naturally inclined to do more.

The last question was more personal: What are three things you might tell your parents about your hopes/fears as they relate to sustainability, climate change, and the earth’s future? Students’ worries are real and relate to fear that the future is not so bright. With extreme weather and heightened disaster, students do not want to suffer because of history’s mistakes. One student puts it best when she says, “Three things I hope for are: One, that people learn to care about the environment and their impact. Two – that fewer corporations continue to lobby for non-sustainable energy sources. Three – that we don’t end up destroying the planet and having to live on Mars.”

Thanks Michelle!!

Michelle Aboodi is our summer intern at ClimateMama and a student at New York University.

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