80% of teens feel under pressure to save the planet, but aren’t learning how

Written by Jon Kennard on 6 June 2019 in Press Zone
Press Zone

New research from The Body Shop reveals that 80% of young people feel their generation is under pressure to solve environmental issues, yet almost half (44%) of students say that they never or rarely hear about sustainability in the classroom.

14-16 year olds are taking matters into their own hands to solve environmental issues such as climate change and plastic pollution with 14% taking part in protests and 23% signing petitions for issues they believe in

  • Over two thirds (64%) want to learn more about global issues around sustainability in order to make a positive impact to save the planet
  • More than half (59%) said they would be more likely to engage in a subject if it had a sustainability angle
  • A fifth (19%) want to do more but don’t know how without adequate information

New research revealed to coincide with World Environment Day has shown that whilst the majority (80%) of young people feel their generation is under pressure to solve environmental issues, they aren’t well-enough equipped  to make a difference.

When surveyed about their opinions about climate change and plastic pollution, 39% of those surveyed admit despite deeply caring about the impact humans are having on the planet but 44% indicated they never or rarely hear about sustainability in the classroom.

Research from The Body Shop shows that youth activists like Greta Thunberg are inspiring young Brits to take matters into their own hands.

30% say that they believe in campaigning for issues that are important to bring about political or social change or help save our planet, with 14% having protested and taken part in environmental demonstrations and a quarter (23%) signing petitions for issues they believe in.

Yet despite the pressure they feel, the evidence demonstrates that there is not enough information available to them to help them understand how to effect change.

The Body Shop polled 1,000 young adults aged 14-16 years old on their attitudes towards sustainability to coincide with the launch of The Body Shop Educational Programme, a free curriculum-linked resource, created by teachers, for teachers.

Aimed at students aged 14+ years, the resource is structured around five KS4 lesson plans - Geography, Business Studies, Design & Technology, Science & PSHE & Citizenship and includes downloadable quizzes, short films, an online interactive, presentations and worksheets. 

The lessons explore global supply chains, sustainable business practices and ethical, following the story of the grower, retailer and consumer.

The research shows that environmentally conscious youngsters demonstrate an overwhelming appetite for positive change and information on how to help. Despite respondents living at home, largely dependent on their families and still in full time education, over half (65%) take accountable actions to be more sustainable and make changes to their daily lives to reduce their impact on the planet.

A large majority (80%) declare that they are actively recycling and half (50%) use products that are ethically made and are not harmful to the environment or society. 64% admit there’s more they want to learn on global issues around sustainability in order to make a positive impact to save the planet and 59% said they would be more likely to engage in a subject if it had a sustainability angle.

The Body Shop’s Educational Programme aims to support teachers with real-life practical examples to illustrate curriculum-linked sustainability topics. Lessons plans and easily downloadable resources in the Programme provide ready-to-go content and real world case studies from the global company, exploring packaging and supply chain as well as ethical innovations and business practices. 

Pins Brown, Head of Ethical Trade & Sourcing from The Body Shop comments; “It’s fantastic to see that young people are hungry for more information surrounding sustainability and how they can actively contribute in driving change to make a positive difference in the world.

We know that education is instrumental in helping to create such change and developed The Body Shop’s Educational Programme to give teachers instant access to free resources that bring real-life context and discussion of ethical, sustainable practices into the classroom to enable future generations to make informed choices on how they can enrich their own futures and those of others”.

Adele Goulding, a geography teacher from Manchester says, “These resources and lesson plans are a fantastic way to help bring real-life context to the classroom.

The Body Shop Educational Programme shares a variety of tasks, which are broken up with interactive clips and videos to help engage and retain the attention of students. They allow students to work independently and in groups, as well as offer more challenging, creative tasks to appeal to the most able”. 

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