Listening to young people: Mobility for future (EN)

Listening to young people: Mobility for future The young participants in the study warmly welcomed this opportunity to make their voices and opinions heard when it comes to exploring the connection between young people’s mobility and climate change. As one entry in the comment box of the quantitative survey reads, “Thank you for giving the floor to young people and consulting us.” This invitation to young people to keep making their voices heard and provide input is a standing one. 6 „Mobility is one of the most important things for youth work“ To repeat the first line in this report, youth and mobility are two sides of the same coin. Travelling is important to the young people who took part in this study: only few (17.1 %) of those who completed the questionnaire stated they never travel abroad, whereas a large num- ber (65.4 %) said they did. And they do so, as they said, for a number of reasons, of which learning mobility – although important – is just one.

→ The study shows that practically all young people feel that climate change is serious. → It also shows that internationally mobile young people are aware that travel has a noticeable impact on the climate.

Looking at the outcomes of the focus group sessions, it is clear that young people do not believe that virtual activ- ities can replace face-to-face events that require travel; however, virtual events can re-frame the infrastructure. Also, young people are willing to adopt new travel habits by, e.g. using more climate-friendly means of transpor- tation or travelling less often, but staying for longer. As a rule, new(er) travel options have to be explored, also and especially in the international youth work field. Several entries in the comment boxes of the quantita- tive survey mentioned the term “slow travelling”. One comment read “Rather than trying to travel as cheaply as possible as far away as possible, slow travelling should be given greater appreciation. That’s why train travel should be simpler and cheaper so it can be a genuine alternative.” Another participant wrote, “Slow travelling – meaning spending more time in one place and really immersing into the local culture. If flying is really nec- essary, preference should be given to direct flights (…).”

Another illustrative comment from the focus groups, which was already quoted above, is relevant in this con- text: “You don’t have to ask us if there should be more climate friendly options”. In other words, when young people set out to travel to a learning mobility activity, they shouldn’t even have to deal with the dilemma of having to think about their CO 2 footprint because all pro- grammes are designed in a sustainable, eco-friendly way. It is clear that young people’s personal choices play a major role when it comes to climate-sensitive mobility. For instance, for those who completed the question- naire in German, choosing vegetarian/vegan products and foods when travelling and in their daily lives was a relevant concern. The young people who completed the Turkish- or Chinese-language version mostly felt strongly about buying products that were produced in a climate-friendly way.


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