Exploring Youth’s Concerns About Climate Change

Youth have provided tremendous energy to global work to avert and remedy climate change. At the same time, they often experience emotional challenges related to current and future climate instability. Parents and care givers provide key support for children and youth in dealing with these emotional challenges and channeling their energies and aspirations related to addressing climate change. This internship will focus on searching out and summarizing studies and resources about children and young people’s perceptions, hopes, and fears related to climate change in order to provide a foundation for parenting education programming and resources.

    Roles and responsibilities 

    The intern will conduct a literature review starting with a recent global study led by researchers at the University of Bath. A key finding of that study was that over 50% of young people surveyed reported experiencing significant emotional distress associated with climate change, including feeling afraid, sad, anxious, angry, powerless, and/or guilty (Hickman et al., 2019). Researchers also found that among children and youth who reported having talked to someone about climate change (81.2%), almost half (48.4%) reported that other people had ignored or dismissed them (Hickman et al., 2019). Research literature and media searches will enable the intern to gather additional information on youth and children’s perspectives about climate change as well as information on current issues parents and guardians raise regarding communicating with children and youth about climate change.

    Qualifications and previous coursework

    This opportunity is available to non-graduating students in Cornell University's College of Human Ecology.

    We are looking for a student intern who is has completed course work or volunteer activities in a field related to the issues explored in the project. Fields might include human development, psychology, environmental analysis, policy, natural resources, environmental justice, and public health. Being bilingual in English and Spanish is a plus, as is previous experience and continued interest in working with youth and families in diverse settings.

    Learning outcomes 

    The student intern will develop strong skills in searching, summarizing, and research literature on an issue of major social concern (climate change) and will contribute to the development of intergenerational programming that helps to address this issue.