How Gen Z are approaching the climate crisis

We spoke to 17-year-old Cleo about how climate change is impacting her generation...

Gen Z (those born between 1996 and 2010) are largely cited as being the most climate-aware generation yet.

Cleo is currently in her final year of school, and is hoping to complete a degree in Geography and Business, with an emphasis on sustainability.

"I feel I need to be part of the change and solution to climate change, sustainability and net zero."

Like many young people, Cleo's awareness of the climate emergency makes her more likely to choose a climate-positive employer;

"I am particularly interested in the sustainability of companies, helping them reducing their impact on the planet."

Yet many larger business still have a long way to go when it comes to adopting sustainable ways of working...

"People and companies are not prioritising sustainable practices."

Studies show that the rate of climate anxiety is highest amongst younger generations. Cleo acknowledges that sustainability is a growing concern for young adults, largely due to the heavier impact that climate change will have for future generations. 

"Teenagers and young adults are seeing how unsustainable living is affecting the world, and are putting into practice methods to combat this growing problem. In many respects they are more informed than some older generations."

When it comes to barriers that prevent younger people from embracing more sustainable choices, Cleo noted that cost is a huge factor, especially during the cost of living crisis. She recommends embracing low-carbon travel options like walking, cycling, using public transport and lift sharing as cost-effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Cleo sticks to a vegetarian diet in order to reduce her impact on the environment, due to the climate impact of animal agriculture. She is also enthusiastic about reducing consumption of fast fashion;

"Shopping second hand, like Depop, Vinted and charity shops, is far more sustainable and gives you more unique clothes, often for less money too!"

Cleo is conscious of keeping energy use to a minimum by turning off lights in unused rooms and wearing extra layers at home to save on heating use. Out and about, she advocates for carrying reusable water bottles and coffee cups as an easy way to reduce your waste, and composts food waste at home to reduce carbon emissions and create plenty of fertile compost to feed the garden.

For more actionable and affordable tips to help you tread more gently on our planet, head to our Go Net Zero at Home section.