Green Teen Report Card: ‘A’ for Awareness, ‘D’ for Action

While the Millennial generation—or those born after 1978—may be the cohort that is most passionate and educated about environmental issues, its members are not as altruistic as you might think, according to Generate, Los Angeles. The production company recently launched a market research practice called Generate Insight, which focuses on teens, tweens and young adults. It found that young people could be swayed away from green answers when presented with more-convenient options, lower prices and simpler solutions.

For many Millennials, Generate Insight’s research concluded, the extent of their eco-involvement is based on what they were required to do for a passing grade at school. Some said they took what they learned in class and applied it to home life—recycling is the most common example. Bigger and bolder ways of taking action puzzle them; they don’t understand how to get involved in environmental causes and don’t see what kind of impact they can make.

The research also found that 71% of teens (ages 13-17) surveyed would be tempted to choose a less expensive product over one that gave back to the environment.

Of course, these answers conflict with many others, which show the passionate environmental feelings of the demo. Sixty-nine percent (69%) said that they care about the environment and need to get more involved. In terms of current green living, 87 percent of Millennials said they recycle, 84 percent turn off lights when not in use, 80 percent have reduced their water usage and 73 percent use energy-efficient light bulbs. And 37 percent of Millennials say they want to be more green, but just don’t know how to do it. 

While school is the main source for eco-education among those 13-17 (85 percent), four in five Millennials (79 percent) said the Internet educates them on all things green. Seventy-six percent feel it’s “very important/important” for brands to get involved in the green movement.

Seventy-four percent of Millennials believe they can make a difference in saving planet earth. However, the younger the Millennial, the less optimistic he or she is. The number decreases significantly among the teenagers  (13-17 years old), with 48 percent of this younger set feeling they can make a difference but the “problems are too huge for us to move the needle.”

Related: Convenience Is the Mother of Conservation for Most