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Climate Change Virgin(s)
Critical insights from Zoomers on how to fight climate change
Just the other day, I was sitting at my local Che Guevarra-inspired coffee shop, puffing on my American Spirits cig and making sure the hair I strategically matted to the side of my head looked just right, and thought, “I wonder why kids aren’t more psychotically obsessed with climate change? I’ve never heard them talk about it, ever. We must hear more from them. After all, they’re the ones who will be navigating the flames of the earth when it spontaneously combusts. None of us should be happy until every child on earth has PTSD starting at no later than eight years old around the imminent climate change nightmare.
Fortunately, Virgin Media has cracked the code for us in their report on Supercharging the climate conversation: Engaging the next generation with climate change. In the report, they surveyed and conducted focus groups with 16-24-year-olds in the UK.
Is the report good? Well, the cover is of a hip young black dude talking on a cell phone, so you tell me.
You better get in your fallout shelters because it’s going to be raining down truth bombs.
The executive summary brings us some mixed signs about the current situation:
A recent study on attitudes towards climate change found that 73% of young people in the UK think that the future is frightening and 51% think that humanity is doomed.
The “future is frigthening” bit is acceptable, though it’s a bit lower than I would have liked; however, a mere 51% of kids think “humanity is doomed?” Put the call out to our non-binary climate change commissar that we need 90% minimum by the end of 2023, or it’s off to the environmentally friendly solar panel manufacturing gulags for they.
How about specific to the climate issue:
Only 34% are Very Concerned? Where is the hysteria? Where is the paranoia? And 11% of men are not worried? I declare PATRIARCHY!!!!!!!!!!! Kill the cock-havers! We must flay them and mount their corpses on sustainably grown, fair-trade bamboo pikes!
Where did we go wrong? How did we reach this sad state of affairs, and how can we steer our global Titanic away from the (soon-to-be-melted) iceberg? Fortunately, Virgin Mobile has the answers. Thank the sweet lord (and of course, I am talking about the earth’s mother, Gaia, not the coal-powered Biblical Gd).
Here are some of their key findings, with quotes from the kids surveyed, along with solutions to our dire situation:
Only 33% [sic] “regularly talk to their friends about climate change and only 10% have created their own content about climate change on social media.”
What kind of sexless, slammed-in-their-lockers, spitball-receiving losers did Virgin find for this survey? I was prom king, class president, and valedictorian of my high school, and the only thing I talked with my friends about was the environment. Nothing got the girls going like a bit of filthy ozone layer depletion talk. That got them wetter than acid rain (which was my fallback plan, coincidentally). Now we know why climate change is an issue and why kids aren’t boning anymore.
“There’s a difference in relatability because environmentalists have experienced lots of things, but because we’re young we haven’t experienced lots of things.”
-Bayleigh (F, 19)
“If more celebrities were into this stuff, we’d definitely talk about it.… Kim Kardashian started eating plant based and that’s where I got the idea from […] now and then celebrities talk about that kind of stuff and it stays in your mind.”
-Amina (F, 18)
Interesting. It’s almost like Bayleigh is saying that children are stupid and should not be trusted with important decisions, and Amina comes along with the assist, proving her point. Does this prove we should increase the voting age to 40? No way. Voting rights by the eighth month in utero, or you are a genocidal maniac.
More on this topic in a minute…
Young people need to see more diverse and relatable speakers on climate issues both in public and in their friendship groups.
Are you trying to tell me that a severely autistic Swedish girl and US Climate Envoy, John Kerry, are not enough? How dare you claim that the “totally not a cult, where would you get that idea from” Extinction Rebellion is not “relatable.”
“I think it would be a great idea personally to see someone such as Stormzy or Marcus Rashford [talk about climate]. They would definitely have me on board.”
– Liam (M, 17)
It is a miracle that the Allies could pull off World War 2 without social media influencers. I can not imagine people caring about global existential threats without a Kardashian tattooing it on her ass and posting it on TikTok. Imagine how many Jews could have been saved from the gas chambers if only Kim had had an Insta account circa 1939.
Young people don’t see peers and influencers showing that they care about climate change, preventing them from making greener choices themselves.
This is true. I have never seen a celebrity comment about climate change or the environment ever in my entire life. It’s a shame…
Virgin also recommends that we “consider ‘unexpected’ ambassadors: influencers who may not be known for talking about climate change, but for this reason may be able to reach and connect with new audiences of young people on a deeper level.”
Connect with new audiences of young people on a deeper level? Well, Jeffery Epstein would be unexpected, but he’s out of the question. Hmmmm…I wonder what Jared from Subway is doing nowadays?
A lack of diverse and relatable climate spokespeople is preventing young people from engaging with climate content and they want to see more “people like them” speaking up.
From the report:
During the focus groups, young people told us that campaigns like Black Lives Matter (BLM) had resonated with them more than climate change campaigns as they focused around clear victims they could relate to. BLM was perceived as having immediate impacts and was being talked about across young people’s circle of influence, from their family and friendship group to social media influencers. This meant that the topic appeared on their social feeds without them having to actively look for it.
If only we had an organization like BLM to support saving the world…
A fear of judgement on social media and a lack of tangibility to the climate change problem also prevents young people speaking up.
“You might be like – well I can’t really do that [speak about climate change] because I like buying clothes.”
– Bayleigh (F, 19)
Yes, Bayleigh, you might be just like that.
“A lot of my Instagram Explore is filled with different facts and I feel it has probably helped me to get a bit more insight and information in a quick, fun way without having to hit the books. [...] you are looking at it and it is going into your brain but in a way that only takes a minute to look at; you kind of process it in a nicer environment.”
– Bronagh (F, 20)
We need the best and the brightest involved in the fight against climate change; only the most profound, most insightful thinkers need apply, and Bronagh…you brilliant son-of-a-bitch, you made the cut. Welcome to the movement!
“Even if you don’t know a lot, [even] if it’s just more to [show] support, then you can do it. [For example], when it was #BlackOutTuesday, not everyone maybe knows every detail about racism […] but loads of people still actually posted that picture on their actual feed to show that they care.” – Ben (M, 19)
A movement can not have enough pointless virtue signaling from people who know literally nothing—a big thanks to Ben for reminding us of that.
Keep your faith in the future! There is hope yet, and these are just the Zoomers to lead the way!