Strengthening Personal Concern and the Willingness to Act Through Climate Change Communication
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The climate change awareness of teenagers, as the leading generation for future development affects how societies will be able to cope with climate change. Especially teenagers’ concerns about climate change and their willingness to act in a climate-friendly manner are factors climate change communication has to address. This study investigates why teenagers do not feel concerned about climate change or are not willing to act in a climate-friendly manner in order to identify strategies regarding how to strengthen these aspects in target group-oriented climate change communication formats. Using a mixed-method approach, a quantitative analysis of questionnaires answered by 760 13–16-year old teenagers was validated by a qualitative analysis of interviews with selected respondents. The findings suggest that those teenagers who are not concerned about climate change believe that climate change will happen only in the future. Furthermore, they do not recognize the interconnections or feedbacks regarding climate change between the components of the global system. The group of teenagers who are not willing to act question their own impact and ability to influence the effects of climate change. The findings are discussed, in order to identify implications for climate change communication tailored to the needs of the target group.
KeywordsClimate change communication Concern about climate change Mixed-method approach Young people Willingness to act
We would like to thank the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund (KR14AC7K11819), which finances k.i.d.Z.21-Austria, project number: B464783. Special thanks go to everyone who has contributed to the success of the project, especially to the teenagers involved in this study.
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