In spite of living on a sick planet, only 9% of young adults in a large global survey picked climate change as the most serious global issue, almost at the bottom of a list headed by better education and poverty issues.[i] The 2015 AIESEC survey included 42,000 young adults, ages 18 to 25, from 100 countries and territories. In A UN My World survey with 4.4 million respondents ages 16 to 30, they also picked a good education as the most important global issue, followed by better healthcare, better job opportunities and an honest government. Climate change was at the bottom of the list.
[i] “Youth Speak: Powered by AIESEC. YouthSpeak Survey Millennial Insight Report. 2015.” 42,257 respondents from 100 countries and territories, a majority between the age of 18 to 25.
Since the MDGs expired in 2015, new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were formulated based on input from around the world. Children and youth were included after representatives from the Netherlands suggested the need for youth input, which should have been obvious. The World Children Want Internet platform solicited responses from over 47 countries representing thousands of youth. They believe that humans have a right to food, water, health, and protection of the planet. Their top priority is education, which repeats results of the My World global survey that collected over 7.6 votes since it was launched in 2013. Ending hunger got as many votes as education. The respondents said that current problems are discouraging as almost half of the people living in extreme poverty are 18 years and younger, so they’re glad to have the hopeful SDGs. A criticism is the new goals seldom mention children and youth and adults approach youth as beneficiaries rather than partners.
A Post-2015 Agenda Understood by and Inspiring to Children and Young People,” UNICEF, July 2015.