Some 57% of American teens say they fear climate change, and 52% are angry about it, according to a Washington Post and Kaiser Foundation national survey.
The Post said a majority of respondents, many of whom will reach voting age by 2020, are motivated to channel their anxieties into activism.
“Fear is a commodity we don’t have time for if we’re going to win the fight,” said Madeline Graham, 16, of Maryland, who is organizing a student protest planned for this week.
The poll found about 1 in 4 teens have participated in a walkout, attended a rally or written to a public official to express their views on global warming.
The Post noted it was the first survey of its kind since the igniting of the youth climate movement last year by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden.
Her year-long “strike” from school in front of the Swedish Parliament and “carbon-neutral” sailboat voyage across the Atlantic to the United States have made her an activist icon.
Earlier this month, Thunberg was joined by hundreds of American teenagers on at a protest outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City. They carried hand-drawn placards with messages such as “United behind the science” and “Act now or we will.” And they chanted “System change, not climate change” and “Don’t just watch us, join us.”
‘On top of that, everybody’s gonna die’
Thunberg is scheduled to speak at this month’s United Nations climate action summit. Hundreds of thousands of children plan to skip school and join in protests ahead of the event, the Post said.
“People feel very guilty when a child says, ‘You are stealing my future.’ That has impact,” Thunberg told the Washington Post. “We have definitely made people open their eyes.”
The survey found more than 7 in 10 teenagers and young adults say climate change will cause a moderate or great deal of harm to people in their generation.
“It’s terrible,” Sam Riley, 17, of Boston, told the Post. “It’s hardly ever brough