A new study has revealed that 63 percent of teenagers agree that their generation are not taking enough action to help solve environmental problems.
The poll, commissioned by Canon USA and conducted online by Harris Interactive, polled 563 14- to 18-year-old teenagers across the United States to investigate their understanding of, and interest in, environmental activities.
It found that 75 percent of youngsters believe that humans have had a major impact on climate change, such as changes in temperature and rising sea levels.
And the top three environmental changes that many teens fear will impact the quality of life in their future are poor air quality (66 percent), global warming (61 percent), and poor management of rubbish (59 percent).
Rising sea levels are the least of their concerns; less than a third (31 percent) said they felt this will impact their quality of life in the future.
The survey also helps kick off the 25th anniversary of the Envirothon where more than 270 students from across the United States and Canada are participating in a Canon-sponsored, five-day competition this week at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. to test their knowledge on a variety of environmental issues.
According to the survey, teenagers frequently look for new ways to help preserve the environment while at the same time they also expressed the need to go beyond the classroom to satisfy their environmental curiosity.
The results did, however, reveal that a majority of students are willing to do more, from volunteering to clean up public areas (56 percent) to recycling (85 percent) and reducing energy usage, such as turning off unnecessary lights (85 percent).
Key results of how teenagers taught themselves about the environment, include:
* Older teens (16- to 18-year-olds) are more likely than younger teens (14- to 15-year-olds) to actively seek out information on environmental issues through websites or blogs (49 percent vs. 39 percent) and newspapers or magazines (47 percent vs. 32 percent)
* Three out of four (76 percent) teens in grades six to 12 reported there are infrequent opportunities to learn about environmental conservation at their schools or in their classrooms
* More than two-thirds (67 percent) of 14- to 18-year-olds turn to television programming and commercials to receive information about the environment
* Only 56 percent report their school classes are a source of information about environmental issues
“It is very encouraging that students across the country have such a strong desire to learn more about the environment and assist in the development and implementation of sustainable practices,” said Bunji Yano, senior director and general manager, Corporate Communications, Canon USA. “Through programmes like the Canon Envirothon, Canon USA is supporting students and inspiring a whole new generation of environmental leaders and innovators.”
Additional survey findings reveal:
* Teens are split on whether or not they would vote for a president based on their views on environmental issues; 49 percent agree that they would and 51 percent disagree.
* Three in four 14- to 18-year-olds (75 percent) believe that humans have had a major impact on climate change, such as changes in temperature and rising sea levels.
* The top three environmental changes that many teens fear will impact the quality of life in their future are poor air quality (66 percent), global warming (61 percent), and poor management of garbage (59 percent).
* About half of 14- to 18-year-olds also think that de-forestation (52 percent), possible water shortages (51 percent), and not having enough energy available for electricity (47 percent) will impact their lives in the future. Rising sea levels are the least of their concerns; less than a third (31 percent) feel this will impact their quality of life in the future.
* The majority of 14- to 18-year-olds are willing to recycle (85 percent) and turn off unnecessary lights (85 percent) to help with environmental conservation, while nearly three in five would also be willing to spend less time in the shower (57 percent) and volunteer to help clean up public areas, such as a beach or a park (56 percent).
* Around half or fewer would be willing to lower their usage of heat (49 percent), carpool to school (49 percent), lower their usage of air conditioning (44 percent), or take public transportation to school (40 percent). A third or less of 14-to 18-year-olds would be willing to ride a bike to school (33 percent) or lower their usage of a computer (28 percent).