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Climate change: Children don't feel listened to says Unicef

Oct 22, 2021

Almost nine out of ten children don't think enough is being done to tackle climate change and 81% don't feel they are being listened to - that's according to a new survey.

The survey results published by Unicef UK and Votes for Schools, an organisation that aims to give children a voice on important issues, have been released ahead of the COP26 climate change summit - a meeting between world leaders due to start in Glasgow next week.

More than 46 thousand children took part in the survey and when asked who is most responsible for tackling the climate crisis, it was world leaders and their governments who received the highest percentage of votes (35%).

One child aged 14 from London said: "Children have to live with the mistakes of adults, their wrongs and opinions. But as we grow-up we as a generation understand what is going on with the world and should have a valid say." In the survey 95% of young people said they are worried about the impact climate change is having on the planet.

Anna Kettley from Unicef UK said: "Young people are anxious about the future we're leaving them."

Among the things that children are worried about were animal species becoming extinct, extreme weather and poor air quality. Unicef recently launched the Children's Climate Risk Index, which revealed that one billion children, which is over half of the world's child population, live in areas at high risk of climate and environmental problems, such as flooding and severe weather.

In Britain the three biggest climate risk factors for the future are coastal floods, heatwaves and water and soil pollution.

One child aged 11 years from Scotland who took part in the survey said: "It can change the right to go outside and the right to a healthy amount of water.

The Earth is heating up, which will cause shortages of water in some areas and flooding in others, climate change needs to be helped. It needs attention and it needs it as soon as possible!"

Ahead of COP26, Unicef UK is now asking the government to sign something called the Intergovernmental Declaration on Children Youth and Climate Action, a promise to take action to protect every child from the impact of climate change while focusing on young people in decisions about the environment.

"Unless this crisis is treated with the urgency it deserves by every government at COP26, children in the UK will grow up in a very different environment than we did - a hotter, wetter, more polluted Britain," Anna Kettley said.

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