Swiss youth undecided about how to tackle climate change

A recent climate strike in Basel, March 1. Keystone

Young people in Switzerland want politicians to take radical measures to counter climate change, a survey has found. But they shy away from concrete ideas such as giving up flying or meat.

This content was published on March 11, 2019 minutes

The insights into youth attitudes towards climate change were published on Monday in the Blick newspaper (in German)External link and based on a representative survey of 2,000 15-25-year-olds in German-speaking Switzerland.

The overall picture is one of contrasting attitudes.

On one hand, 69% of respondents said that immediate action was needed to stop climate change. Some 64% also said that politicians should take radical measures to curb sources of pollution.

However, when it comes to concrete radical ideas, less are convinced. Two-thirds were opposed to the banning of petrol or diesel engines, for example, while only half were in favour of a tax on airline tickets. Some 41% would be prepared to forgo flying entirely; even less (31%) would be prepared to give up meat.

The survey, conducted by the GfS Bern research institute, is released as millions of youth around the entire planet are set to take to the streets this coming Friday to march in favour of climate protection.

And if Swiss youth are also preparing to participate, their attitude towards 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg – who has catalysed much of the action with her ‘school strikes’ in Sweden – is somewhat ambivalent: 53% find that the attention accorded her is “over-exaggerated”.

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