Two-thirds of children in the UK are scared of climate change, major new survey finds

81% of UK children want to learn more about taking care of the planet, a new Eden Project survey finds (Image credit: Eden Project)

A new national survey of 7-14-year-old children found that 65% are frightened of climate change and almost a third feel powerless to make a difference.

The Eden Project commissioned Generation Alpha experts – Beano Brain, kids insight consultancy from Beano Studios – to survey more than 1,000 7-14-year-olds and their parents to gain insight into their attitudes and understanding towards the topic of climate change.

The study showed that while 30% of the children surveyed do not think they can make an impact, or perhaps do not know how, 81% want to learn more about how they can help the planet.

One 10-year-old girl who took part said: “I think adults should be more worried and doing more.  Kids can’t drive and we don’t choose what to eat.”

Temperature (59%), the ice caps melting (53%) and rising sea levels (51%) were considered the things most impacted by climate change, according to the young people questioned.

It showed that while 30% of young children do not think they can make an impact, or perhaps do not know how, 81% want to learn more about how they can help the planet.

When asked who should take responsibility for mitigating the impacts of climate change, 67% of the surveyed children felt that everyone has a part to play.

However, a staggering 85% agreed that people in charge, like the government, should be doing more.

Other insights found that children trust their teachers (47%) among the top sources of reliable information on climate change, closely followed by parents (46%) and environmental charities (40%).

And while feeling powerless about making an impact ranked highly, one question found that many children are exhibiting one or more green behaviours, such as using reusable water bottles (59%), turning off lights and appliances (52%), cycling or walking more (48%) and having showers instead of baths to save water (47%).

Claire Sandercock, Eden’s Head of Insight, who worked closely with Beano’s insight team at Beano Brain on the study, commented on the findings: “As an educational charity with a mission to teach, inspire and provide hope to visitors of all ages, Eden believes this study is invaluable in helping us understand how children feel about the world around them.

“It’s heartening that children, even those as young as seven, show a significant interest in the subject and a desire to make even small changes, and it’s our role to introduce, educate and reassure the next generations of the tangible differences they can make and alleviate feelings of hopelessness.”

Climate change came sixth among children’s Top 10 worries, after family health, exams and tests, bullying, relationships with friends, and not having enough money.

Encouragingly, the survey found that two-thirds of young people engage in some form of activism.

The results are revealed ahead of the Eden Project’s summer programme themed on Beano, with activities designed to introduce families and children to the idea that how we travel, what we wear, eat and buy and how we consume energy can affect our carbon footprint and the simple changes they can make through site-wide adventure, stories, games, puzzles and crafts.