One year "Fridays for Future" - do the climate strikes change the actions of the younger generation? A survey by ZEIT CAMPUS and the opinion research institute Ipsos
Greta Thunberg wants to panic the world. "Our house is on fire," said the 16-year-old climate activist in her legendary speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year. And only hundreds, then thousands, and finally hundreds of thousands of young people followed their call. They strike on Fridays for climate protection and demand radical changes. Not at some point, but now. In Germany, too, around 600 local groups of the "Fridays for Future" movement have been founded.
But did the protests in front of the parliaments from Berlin via Paris to New York change the actions of young people? Is it a whole generation fighting for climate protection - or are they just a few? And are they taking other environmental questions more seriously beyond the climate crisis? The student magazine ZEIT CAMPUS wanted to find out and asked for the new issue together with the opinion research institute Ipsos 1000 people between 18 and 30 years in Germany.
A majority wants a ban on plastic bags
The representative survey shows that for just under three quarters of respondents, climate change is an important issue and one of the great challenges of our time. Among the most pressing problems are plastic in the seas (63 percent), global warming (55 percent) and deforestation (44 percent). Almost half of the respondents agree with Thunberg's statement "Our house is on fire".
The success of Thunberg - a student who started a worldwide movement with a poster less than a year ago - has shown to one generation that everyone has the power to make a difference: 78 percent of respondents believe that each individual has a positive impact on their everyday lives can take on the environment. Just as many are demanding that climate change and environmental protection policy should be more rigorous and new laws enacted.
Possible measures include: a ban on plastic bags (53 percent) and disposable plastic bottles (43 percent), greater subsidies for public transport (51 percent) and subsidization of sustainable agriculture (43 percent). Just under a third of respondents blame the policy for environmental damage, just eight percent of the parents' generation. The boys are therefore intensively involved in the topic of climate protection and ecology. They address demands to politicians to mitigate the effects of climate change and eliminate environmental damage.
But how does this attitude manifest itself in everyday life? Only three percent of respondents said they regularly attend demonstrations such as "Fridays for Future." Although the reduction of CO₂ emissions is the main demand of the movement, 64 percent said that they have never been able to estimate their CO₂ footprint. But after all, almost one in three said they did not fly for the climate.
Eat avocados? Only with a bad conscience
Many respondents seem to pay attention in everyday life to how they can protect the environment. This is also reflected in the subject of nutrition: Almost one in ten abstains from avocado and tuna for the sake of the environment. Although 15 percent eat avocado, but have a guilty conscience, because in the breeding per avocado about 1000 liters of water are consumed. And at least 41 percent use reusable cups instead of paper disposable cups.
Even if the political demands for climate protection become louder and consumer behavior becomes more sustainable: How do the 18 to 30-year-old Thunberg rate "Fridays for Future" after almost a year?
Although in the survey 13 percent stated that they are slowly annoying. But 34 percent of respondents said that Greta Thunberg was an impressive girl.