Over the next two years, we’ll be working with the University of Vienna on a new research project, as part of the Austrian Climate Research Programme, to improve climate change communication among young people in Austria. Building on the findings of our recent Young Voices report, this project aims to shift communication towards the benefits of climate-friendly behaviour, empowering young people to make a difference, instead of drowning them with facts and information.
Today’s youth hold a unique and significant position as they face the reality of a changing climate: potentially they are best-placed to push for and define the long-term societal response to climate change, yet they’re also the most vulnerable to the legacy of decisions made by older generations. Yet, despite this, they are too often overlooked when questions of climate change communication are considered.
Climate Outreach has already carried out a ‘literature review’ of the evidence on how young people engage with climate change. We found that, for climate change communication to be successful, it must speak to young people’s values and interest, focus on ‘solutions’ rather than science and scepticism, and overcome the widespread perception among young people that their individual beliefs and behaviours won’t make a difference.
Through a participatory research approach, we will develop a practical ‘toolbox’ for effectively communicating climate change to young people in Austria, and beyond.