New study shows: Adolescents and adults in Armenia are ready to take action to tackle climate change, but more knowledge is needed
On Earth Day, UNICEF and Austrian Development Agency present a study on knowledge, attitudes, perception and behavior on climate change and adolescent participation together with Ministries of Environment and Education, Science, Culture and Sports
YEREVAN, 22 April 2022 – Marking the Earth Day, UNICEF and the Austrian Development Agency, together with the Ministries of Environment and of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, released the findings of a first-time study of knowledge, attitudes, perception and behavior on climate change and adolescent participation in Armenia’s 52 consolidated communities. Targeting both adolescents and adults, the study measures the baseline situation with regard to understanding of what climate change is and how it impacts their communities, attitudes towards climate change and environmental issues, willingness to take action to address climate change and engage in environmental activism.
“The study clearly indicates how central education, both formal and informal, is in addressing climate change and environmental issues. Proper climate education can encourage children, adolescents and young people to change their attitudes and behavior and motivate them to take action,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia. “This study adds to the growing evidence that Governments need to invest in climate education and embed climate change learning in the curriculum, combining with opportunities for children to engage in environmental activities and projects.”
The study was conducted through self-administered web-based survey with 1,517 school students in 6-12th grades at 483 schools, including 45 students with special education needs, as well as face to face standardized interviews with 710 adults across 52 consolidated communities. Methodology and tools were adapted to make them age-appropriate and considering adolescents’ needs and specificities. Data collection amongst adolescents was done in collaboration with the National Center for Education Technologies.
“This study has generated a wealth of insights that should now be used to inform national and local policymaking on environment and on education, as well as form the basis to design awareness raising and behavior change communication to amplify climate action,” noted Nora Alanakyan, Deputy Head of Office of the Austrian Development Agency in Armenia. “At ADA, we believe that everyone has a role to play in addressing the impact of climate change, and we hope that the findings of this study will lay the foundation for informed decision-making in this regard so that every day becomes an Earth Day.”
Main findings from the 52 consolidated communities include:
- More adolescents (96,2%) have heard about climate change than adults (79,8%). Among them, the vast majority reported that they understand what climate change means, although the study uncovered gaps in knowledge, clearly showing the need to invest in climate education.
- Adolescents have heard about the Earth’s changing climate and weather patterns at school (68,4%), on the TV (43,7%) or on the Internet (35,5%), while adults have learned about it on TV (81,9%), on the Internet (44,8%), or on social media (34,7%).
- Around 67.9% of adolescents and 66.0% of adults are very concerned about climate change in their community, while 58.4% of adolescents and 70.3% of adults are very concerned about climate change in Armenia.
- 90% of adolescents are willing to learn more about climate change and their most preferred source are schoolteachers and the school administration.
- Only nearly half of the adolescents have ever heard from their teachers about what can be done to reduce climate change and what can be done to protect themselves and their families from the effects of climate change. Adolescents with special educational needs are not only the group with the smallest share of those who have heard about climate change, but also the group with the smallest number of sources of information about the issue.
Adolescents and young people are powerful agents of change and can make a strong contribution in proposing solutions to climate change and in promoting environmentally sustainable lifestyles and setting an example for their communities. Close to 76% of adolescents and 77% of adults are ready to take action to prevent or lessen the impact of climate change in their communities, including compromising some of their habits.
85.0% of adolescents and 90.2% of adults are also willing to raise awareness among their families and friends that they do not need to burn fields, rubber wheels or plastic items. Additionally, 83.4% of adolescents and 93.0% of adults are willing to raise awareness among their families on the need to save water; while 83.0% of adolescents and 82.3% of adults are willing to volunteer for tree planting and other climate-friendly activities.
UNICEF, with the support of ADA, will continue to support the Ministries of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, of Environment, as well as of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure and other stakeholders to integrate climate change education in the national curriculum, develop training modules for teachers and support their capacity building, create venues and opportunities for adolescents to be heard and take part in the implementation of community projects.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.