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Climate change is No. 1 worry for young people, finds survey

An Amnesty International survey released today to mark Human Rights Day reveals that young people feel climate change is the most important issue facing the world.

Amnesty International explains:

Ipsos MORI, on behalf of Amnesty International, questioned more than 10,000 people aged 18-25-year olds — also known as Generation Z — in 22 countries for the “Future of Humanity” survey.

They were asked for their opinions on the current state of human rights in their country and the world, which issues they feel are most important, and who they feel is responsible for addressing human rights abuses.

Respondents were asked to pick up to five issues from a list of 23 major issues facing the world. In total, 41% of respondents said climate change was one of the most important issues facing the world, making it the most commonly cited globally, followed by 36% who chose pollution, and 31% who selected terrorism.

Fourth and fifth were loss of natural resources and racial inequality.

When it came to environmental issues, those polled were given 10 choices, and global warming was most commonly cited as one of the most important environmental issues facing the world, at 57%. Runners-up were ocean pollution (42%), air pollution (31%), and deforestation (31%).

Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, said:

In this year when young people mobilized in huge numbers for the climate, it can be no surprise that many of those surveyed saw it as one of the most important issues facing the world.

For young people, the climate crisis is one of the defining challenges of their age. This is a wake-up call to world leaders that they must take far more decisive action to tackle the climate emergency or risk betraying younger generations further.

Today, law firm Hausfeld LLP, which represents 16 children from all over the world, including climate activist Greta Thunberg, sent letters to the governments of Norwegian and Canadian governments saying that their support for the oil and gas industries breaches children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.