Listening to young people: Mobility for future (EN)

Focus groups: Transnational group discussions

When it comes to access, participants reported that while many groups that engage in climate action may be well-known, they are not always particularly accessible. One participant thought that although engagement in a group was very important, they did not feel they could comfortably participate. This was largely because they had so far had little contact to suitable groups and were unsure whether there would be a good fit between them. They did add that they may find it easier to join a group if they knew people who were already active members. Talking about emotions, it was clear that the young participants recognised that there are a large number of social challenges that require action. One of them said, “It can be quite difficult at times. When there are so many essential issues that need change and your support, it feels that you’re powerless against that”. As one of said issues, participants picked out the climate crisis as one – yet not the only one – that needed to be taken very seriously and that required action. Oth- er issues mentioned included racism, discrimination, poverty and social inequality, as well as health and the current challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic. Given the multitude of serious societal problems, it was said,

it was sometimes hard to choose which cause to engage with. Also, some stated they felt powerless because it was hard for an individual to influence the situation and engage in genuine action. As one participant put it, “I don’t know, climate change is such a gigantic problem that we don’t know what we could possibly do on our own. That’s my opinion”. In one young group in particu- lar, participants said that a lot of courage was needed to advocate actively for one’s causes. Asked about the type of action they felt was appropriate in matters relating to the climate, they referenced per- sonal lifestyles above all. For instance, one participant said, “It’s mainly human activity – and the main factor is excessive consumption and production”. Specific men- tion was made of mobility, consumption, food choices and clothing purchases. These areas, they said, offered potential for a change for the better. It was important, participants stated, that everyone did something, no matter how big or small the initial steps. “We can do it step by step: for example, distributing garbage, then changing our eating habits. Then start talking to other people, share your ideas with friends, with family. In doing so, we can create a snowball effect.” regions, since – unless they have a car of their own or can- not drive as they are too young – have no choice but to use public transport. As for long-distance travel, participants said one would need to be willing to accept longer travel times and to avoid air travel wherever possible owing to the high fuel consumption of aircraft. At the same time, they pointed out, this would only be feasible if travelling by coach or train was noticeably cheaper than flying. How- ever, given that no-frills airfares are often extremely low, this is (usually) an unlikely scenario. In this context, par- ticipants also mentioned that short-term learning mobil- ity activities should be abolished, replacing them with activities of longer duration so that the CO 2 footprint of any travel to and from the venue would be comparatively lower. This opinion was also voiced frequently in the com- ment boxes in the quantitative questionnaire.

4.6 Climate-friendly (learning) mobility – what young people want During the focus group sessions, the young partici- pants spoke about their idea of climate-sensitive (learn-

„Why does it have to be a choice? It might be already built in to the price.“

ing) mobility. While they initially did so unprompted, towards the end of the sessions they were explicitly invit- ed to share their suggestions and opinions, which are described in the following. One demand was to improve the local and long-distance public infrastructure and reduce ticket prices. Above all, this would benefit young people and those who live in rural


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