Younger people in Bangladesh are substantially more likely than older people to be aware of climate change, says a new international survey by UNICEF and Gallup released on Thursday ahead of World Children’s Day.
Over 90 per cent of the Bangladeshi children and youth who were aware of the issue also agree on the need for their government to act boldly now.
The findings come from the poll The Changing Childhood Project, the first of its kind to ask multiple generations for their views on the world and what it is like to be a child today.
The poll surveyed more than 21,000 people across two age cohorts (15-24 years old and 40 years old and up) in 21 countries, across all regions and income levels, including Bangladesh.
The survey shows that children and young people are nearly 50 per cent more likely than older people to believe that the world is becoming a better place with each generation, and that childhood has improved, with overwhelming majorities believing that healthcare, education, and physical safety are better for today's children than for their parents' generation.
Yet, despite their optimism, young people are far from naïve, expressing restlessness for action on climate change, skepticism about information they consume on social media, and struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety.
They are far more likely than older people to see themselves as global citizens, and more likely to embrace international cooperation to tackle threats like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is no shortage of reasons for pessimism in the world today: Climate change, the pandemic, poverty and inequality, rising distrust, and growing nationalism. But here is a reason for optimism: Children and young people refuse to see the world through the bleak lens of adults,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
“Compared to older generations, the world’s young people remain hopeful, much more globally minded, and determined to make the world a better place. Today’s young people have concerns for the future but see themselves as part of the solution.”
“The voices of Bangladeshi young people on climate action are loud and clear. Young people in Bangladesh are aware of the consequences of climate change, and are more adamant than ever that more needs to be done,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
“Their views on the world might differ on some aspects from their peers’ in other countries, but their vision is the same: the need to act now for a better future.”