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9 in 10 UK Christian teens concerned about climate change

by Tola Mbakwe

New research has found that nine out of ten Christian teenagers surveyed are concerned about climate change, but just one in 10 believe their church is doing enough to respond to the climate crisis.

The report, called Burning Down the House- How the Church Could Lose Young People Over Climate Inaction was conducted by international aid and development agency Tearfund alongside the Youthscape Centre for Research. 

A group of 630 British Christian young people aged between 14 and 19 participated in the survey.

Alongside the survey, a group of 23 16 to 23-year-olds took part in a series of focus groups which explored the experiences of young Christian climate activists and young black Christians.

The research revealed that 86 per cent of the teenagers said their faith teaches them to care about injustice and 84 per cent said it's important that Christians respond to climate change. 

Dot Tyler, head of youth and emerging generation team at Tearfund, told Premier Christians News adults can learn a lot from young people in regards to climate change.

“I think the biggest thing we can learn is passion and be inspired from the biblical narrative that they are understanding,” she said.

“Probably because they're young people, they’re so black and white about if the Bible asks us to care for creation, and if the Bible asks us to love people, then it's a non-negotiable to respond to the climate crisis.”

The survey also found that 57 per cent had prayed about the climate in the last year and 84 per cent are willing to. 

Rebekah Wilson, 21, a medical student in Glasgow, who took part in the research, said: “By ignoring climate justice, or placing it lower on our priority lists, we are overlooking the very real concerns, livelihoods and lives of God’s children across the globe, who are currently harmed by climate change.

“We can no longer view climate change from our positions of privilege as an issue to postpone and solve for our children, but we must take urgent action to care for the people who are affected by it now.”

Dr Lucie Shuker, Director of Research at Youthscape Centre for Research, said: “We only need to look at Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate to see the impact young people can have. 

“Across the world, young people have been raising their voices and demanding action in response to the climate emergency, and now we know that passion is shared by Christian teenagers in the UK. Those surveyed have spoken - churches now need to listen and act.”

In response to the survey, Tearfund, alongside other organisations, has designed the new Climate Emergency Toolkit for church leaders and congregations to respond to the climate crisis. 

The kit guides churches on how to declare their own climate emergency and take action, by cutting their carbon emissions and mobilising their members to influence their households, local communities and workplaces. 

Dr Ruth Valerio, Director of Global Advocacy and Influencing at Tearfund, said: “This survey is clear: young people want the church to listen and act now. If it does not, it will fail the living planet that God loves and calls us to protect.

“Churches must use their platforms to listen to their young people and stand up for the most vulnerable in the world who are facing the climate crisis head-on with life threatening consequences like droughts, famines and more severe weather events.”

For more information on the toolkit, click here.  

Listen to Premier's interview with Dot Tyler here: 

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