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Climate Change Protest - Climate Change Protest

Young people want charities more involved in climate change debate

The public want charities to be more involved in the climate change debate, particularly younger people, who believe the sector has a key role to play in the movement, a new poll has revealed.

Latest polling from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) found 46% of people agreed charities are an important part of the climate change debate, while over half (51%) disagreed with the statement 'charities should not get involved with the climate change debate'.

Meanwhile, younger respondents (aged 16-24), were most likely to think charities are an important part of the debate, 59% stated they feel this way. The same group of younger people overwhelmingly disagreed (69%) with the statement that 'charities should not get involved in the climate change debate', which was significantly higher than the 51% average.

CAF asked participants who they thought had most effectively led the climate change debate, to which 35% of respondents said individuals had been the leaders. This figure rose to 38% among women and 45% among 16-24 year olds.

But just 9% said charities had been leading the debate, while 14% said international bodies, 8% said the government and 2% said businesses.

“People clearly see individuals as leading the public debate on climate change,” CAF head of research, Susan Pinkney said. “This is likely to have been a result of prominent activists such as Greta Thunberg and the school climate protests.”

“It’s notable that a sizeable minority of those polled were unsure about whether or not charities are an important part of the climate debate, or whether they should play any role at all,” she added. “Charities like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth often lead the climate conversation, but perhaps the charity sector at large – along with international bodies, governments and businesses – need to get better at expressing how they’re helping to tackle what is emerging as the defining issue of our age.”

The findings from the poll came ahead of the global climate strikes, which took place at a number of locations across the world between 20-27 September. The strike was part of a wave of inspirational climate action being headed up by children and young people. They began in August 2018 when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament and demanded change.

Read: Charity Times - Young people want charities to be more involved in climate change debate, poll finds