Gen Z in chronic fear of climate change

Although they are actively informed and engaged in environmental matters, genzenialls do not have the impression they’re being heard

3 min to read
Written by: Nataša Blagojević

When we talk about Generation Z, the characteristic that is always the most highlighted is that its members do not know the world without the Internet. Yet, just as some other generations were marked by an event of monumental proportions, such as the great financial crisis that marked the maturation of millennials, we will increasingly view Generation Z through the prism of today’s burning issues – environmental protection and climate change.

More and more young people are developing “eco-anxiety”

Generation Z is actually facing the threat that the world as they know it will soon no longer exist, but with consequences more far-reaching than those of not being globally hyperconnected. Constant in their daily lives is the news of floods and fires ravaging everything in front of them and air and ocean pollution. Given the complexity of environmental problems, it is not uncommon for young people to develop eco-anxiety – a condition that (although there is no official diagnosis) is best described as a chronic fear of complete destruction of the environment and living conditions on our planet. One of the reasons why they feel this way is that they are deeply disappointed with the actions of “adults” and believe that change is not happening fast enough.

They largely use social networks, but don’t trust it

Social networks have a significant role when it comes to informing young people about this topic. According to FleishmanHillard’s research “The Voice of the Climate Generation” conducted among British genzenialls, more than 50% of them inform themselves about climate change at least once a week. The channels they use for it mostly are social networks – Instagram (50%), YouTube (48%) and TikTok (40%). However, this does not mean that these are the channels they trust the most. On the contrary, they consider traditional broadcasting media and their digital extensions to be the most credible, with 25% of them trusting online media the most and 23% trusting TV news the most. Only 20% of young people who participated in the survey consider YouTube a credible source of information on climate change, and even fewer perceive Instagram (17%) and TikTok (11%) as such.

Young people have the most trust in experts and scientific institutions (53% of respondents). For advertisers, and especially non-governmental organizations, it is particularly worrying that only 11% of genzenialls that participated in research trusts them.

A generation that doesn’t hide behind the screen

Genzenialls are not the only generation that has strong beliefs on this important issue, but they are a generation that is more engaged. According to the survey, 41% of respondents shared information and exchanged views with others on the activities of companies to reduce the negative impact on climate change, and 39% on specific products and services related to the same policies. 37% of them used a blog or social networks for it. In addition, despite the pandemic, 24% of them joined some form of protest to draw attention to the alarming situation.

Their attitudes and behaviours make it clear how passionate they are about environmental issues and climate change. Young people want the opportunity to have their voices heard and to take an active part in solving problems. Companies and brands have a unique opportunity to give them that space and work to reduce the distrust gap – for a better tomorrow together.


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