Climate change the main environmental concern of European youth

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More environmental education, alternative sources of energy and stricter transportation laws are some of the proposals put forth by Europe’s next generations of policy makers and voters.

9 May, Europe day, commemorates the speech the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman gave 57 years ago, advocating closer European cooperation. Europe day has a particularly special meaning this year as we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rome Treaty.

Curious as to how the future policy-makers and voters feel about Europe's environment, the EEA's communication team interviewed young Europeans. The interviews were conducted at the first ever Rome Youth Summit organised by the European Commission. In addition, the team interviewed students from the Copenhagen International School in Denmark. The teenagers showed a clear concern about climate change and gave some very specific policy prescriptions.

Click on the below images to view the interviews:

'What are your concerns about the environment, now and in the future, and what policy changes would you propose to protect our planet?'

'The environment is our home', says Luca Palescandolo from Italy, 'if we do not preserve our home, ultimately we won't be able to live on this planet.' Integral environmental education programmes, strict legislation and effective follow-up of governmental initiatives in environmental protection are some of the proposed solutions to tackling today's problems.

The interviews were conducted at the Youth Summit co-organised by the European Commission and Youth Forum. Over 200 delegates from European youth organisations gathered to open a dialogue with EU policy-makers and to produce input for the debate on the future of Europe.

50th anniversary celebrations, Youth Summit, Rome, 2007

'If you were the President of Europe, what would you do to help decrease pollution and improve our environment?'

Increasing taxes on cars and using that money to invest in environmentally-friendly forms of transportation are the most cited policies a green President would implement. Other proposals include ambitious renewable energy targets and big budgets for alternative sources of energy, environmental education and campaigns to inform the young, and the not so young alike, on what they can do to help the environment.

Copenhagen International School, Denmark, 2007

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