Across Australia, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, the UK and the US, tens of thousands of school-aged children have been skipping class to protest about the global climate change crisis. An organised protest took place on 15 February in the UK with pupils taking to the streets across thirty locations. In Lancaster, A-level student Rosie Mills successfully campaigned to allow under eighteens to have a say on climate change issues, with the aim that the city will eventually produce no carbon at all.
The number of young people who turned out to vote in the 2017 UK general election was the highest in twenty-five years. Young people talk about politics with their friends, online and on social media platforms, getting involved in debates about gender equality, mental and physical health and education.
Young people's habits are changing. In a report released by the Health Survey for England, in 2015 one in three sixteen to twenty-four year olds were teetotal, compared with one in five in 2005 with rates of harmful drinking declining. In 2015, twenty-eight per cent admitted to drinking above the recommended limits, compared to forty-three per cent in 2005 and 10,000 participants reported that abstention was becoming mainstream. Pubs are closing at a rate of eighteen per week whereas there are now over 25,000 coffee shops across the UK.
So might this mean the non-drinking, politically aware, environmentally conscious, avocado-eating young people of today might be looking for healthier ways to spend their time? Perhaps with a good book or getting out and enjoying the outdoors while they can?