Kids could be key to making adults pay attention to climate change - study

Kids could be the key to getting adults interested in fighting climate change, a new study has revealed.

The study, published in journal Nature Climate Change, looked at a group of US-based children, and found the parents of kids who were concerned about climate change tended to become more concerned themselves.

It makes sense to New Zealand's School Strike 4 Climate leader Sophie Handford, who told Newshub children give adults a new perspective.

"When their children stand up and say 'actually climate change puts my own future at risk' then that's something that I think no adult really wants for their child, so I think that's quite powerful."

Hundreds of thousands of children around the world have walked out of school over the past few months, protesting a lack of action on the climate from the adults in charge.

Handford said the protests have increased conversation about the environment in homes.

"So whether it's the kids seeing something on TV and asking their parents what it's about, maybe a parent raising it with their kid about whether it's been spoken about at their school, I think it's been raised in quite a few different ways."

Researchers from North Carolina State University trained 15 teachers to use a curriculum intended to provoke children to talk to their parents about climate change.

The researchers then measured the impact on children and their parents over the next two years.

They found daughters were the most effective at getting their parents to care, and male or conservative parents saw the most change in their opinion.

Handford said a lot of kids may have strong feelings about the issue, which then get passed along to their parents.

"Especially if it's not something that these parents expect of their kids also, for them to stand and have this really strong view about this issue because I do know that it's something a lot of young people feel strongly about."


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