Listening to young people: Mobility for future (EN)

Summary and outlook: Potential implications for international youth mobility

However, it is notable that:

Another outcome from the focus group sessions was that active membership of a group or political party requires time, money and the right infrastructure along with courage. International youth work and its activities should hence consider encouraging greater engagement on climate issues and supporting young people in taking that step. Special attention could be given to the lack of time, in particular, by working together (more frequent- ly) with the formal education system and incorporating climate action into the school curriculum. Further, it emerged that young people’s peer groups have a large influence on whether they engage personally in climate action. During the focus group sessions, participants suggested it was easier to join climate action groups if one’s peers were already members. This peer effect also appears when looking at participants’ travel habits: when asked whether their friends travelled, the majority (53.3 %) of participants in the quantitative study said “Yes, some do” while 42.2 % said “Yes, many do”. Asked where they received the information they needed for their most recent trips, 38.7 % of respondents said it came from friends. Other studies, too, have found that friendships and communities are crucial in this regard. Through their Access Study, the Forschung und Praxis im Dialog (FPD) research group found that peers are key motivators when it comes to deciding to participate in an interna- tional youth exchange; they are also a vital source of information about such schemes. During the first part of the focus group sessions, the participants were asked to point spontaneously to the images they felt drawn to (images relating directly or indirectly to the climate) – they often chose images that signified friendship and / or community.

Climate awareness does not necessarily translate to climate action.

In this regard, young people feel they are limited: although they believe their personal choices do make an important contribution towards more sustainability and climate awareness, the problem exists on a global scale. Climate change – and this, too, is quite clear – cannot be tackled by just one generation, especially not the young generation. A comment from the quantitative survey sums this up quite concisely. “It’s all fine and well for young people to have an awareness of climate-friendly mobility and life- styles in general and live accordingly. However, fighting climate change requires major structural change, which – thanks to the political system we have – lies in the hands of the generations that came before us.” The major significance of young people’s personal choic- es should be contrasted with the fact that fewer than one in five respondents who completed the question- naire said they belonged to a climate-oriented group or political party. Asked during the focus group sessions how they defined “engagement” in a climate context, the most frequently mentioned item was “personal lifestyle”. As one participant said in regard to climate change, “It’s mainly human activity – and the main factor is excessive consumption and production”. The comments left in the comment boxes, too, bear this out. One read, “Everyone is responsible for environmental protection. Start with me”; another, “Take action, start with myself.”


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