Climate change the biggest issue facing the world, say young people

That’s the key finding from the Cambridge Global Perspectives Survey, in which students called on schools to increase education on global issues

Climate change is the single most important issue confronting humanity, according to a global poll of young people.

Eleven thousand 13-19-year-olds participated in the Cambridge Global Perspectives Survey, with 26% ranking the need to tackle the changing climate above pollution, poverty and other concerns.

Results were even more pronounced in the UK, where 45% rated it as the most pressing matter, ahead of poverty and economic equality (12%) and pollution (11%).

“With the impacts of climate change and poverty dominating headlines, global issues have never felt more local,” said Peter Monteath, regional director Europe at Cambridge International.

11,000 young people participated in the study

“Students are aware of the impact these could have on their futures and are active in raising awareness of them,” added Monteath, “so it makes sense that they want to learn about this issue in the classroom, as well as the chance to debate with other students.”

Twenty-seven per cent of UK respondents said they had not been given the chance to study global issues in school, despite 99% saying it was important that they should do so.

When it comes to trusted sources of information, charities focused on a specific area ranked highest for 31% of students, ahead of the media and websites (17%) and social media (12%).

Teachers were rated as the most dependable information source by only 6%.

With the impacts of climate change and poverty dominating headlines, global issues have never felt more local

A significant majority – 94% – of UK students claim to be trying to raise awareness around issues facing the world, via methods including:

  • Making changes to lifestyle (61%)
  • Sharing knowledge with family and friends (71%)
  • Buying products raising funds to help tackle the issues (37%)
  • Giving money to charities and other dedicated organisations (35%)

The survey was conducted ahead of Cambridge Global Perspectives Week, which ran from 1-7 March.

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