JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

What young people fear most - and it's not the environment

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

Video will begin in 5 seconds.

Video settings

Please Log in to update your video settings

What do young people fear the most?

Jobs, buying a house and money have over taken the environment, as some of the biggest issues concerning young people.

PT0M0S 620 349

FORGET trees. The biggest concern for the next generation is finding a job to support their families.

The economy has overtaken the environment as the most pressing concern for the young, according to a survey of 15,000 people aged 15 to 19.

The environment was the top national concern in the past two National Youth Surveys conducted by Mission Australia but its 11th annual report found it had slipped to sixth place this year, with only 17.5 per cent of respondents saying it was the most important issue facing the country, compared with 37.4 per cent who made the same comment last year.

No laughing matter ... Camilla May, Maddy Stedman and Fred Greer are all concerned about the environment - but for Maddy and Fred finding work is a more pressing issue.

No laughing matter ... Camilla May, Maddy Stedman and Fred Greer are all concerned about the environment - but for Maddy and Fred finding work is a more pressing issue. Photo: Tamara Dean

The organisation's national manager of research, Bronwen Dalton, said the environment had been usurped by more immediate worries. ''The environment has been crowded out by this really dominant concern about the economy,'' she said.

Many young people said they would have to find work to support their families or expressed anxiety about their parents losing their jobs.

Maddy Stedman, 17, of Leichhardt, said that while she was concerned about the environment, job prospects took precedence.

''I think environmental concerns are perceived as a bit of a First World problem,'' she said.

''When people are losing their jobs or finding it hard to get a job, the environment takes a back seat. The reality of needing to earn a living overrides the environment.''

Her friend Fred Greer, 17, of Newtown, agreed, saying young people had suffered environmental overload in the past 12 months.

''I think people are getting sick of it because Tony Abbott has been going on such a tirade about the carbon tax,'' he said.

However, Camilla May, 17, of Annandale, said the environment was more important to her than the economy. ''The environment is important to me personally,'' she said. ''People don't really recognise how badly it could go.''

Dr Dalton said those surveyed were keenly aware of the global economic downturn and how it was affecting them.

''What stood out to us was these heart-wrenching comments about how they have got to get a job to support their families or mum and dad are out of work and they need to do more to keep the family afloat,'' she said.

''It was very troubling to see that young people were so concerned with financial security.''

She said the decrease in young people's worry about the environment would be of concern to green groups. But, she said, young people were not disengaged from the issue - more than a quarter were participating in environmental activities.

240 comments

  • "The reality of needing to earn a living overrides the environment."

    Now, if we could only get them to stop voting for the greens....

    Commenter
    SilverTail
    Location
    UpperNorthShore
    Date and time
    December 05, 2012, 8:00AM
    • Vote for the Lib/Labs and you are voting for big Australia buffoons who import labour from overseas to take the jobs these young people should be getting. Vot e green and you'll vote for people who want a sustainable population and not an economy based on greed and growth.

      Commenter
      Christopher
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 8:40AM
    • No Planet No Jobs.
      The young need to be re-educated on importance of environment and looming dangers of global warming

      Commenter
      Green Avenger
      Location
      Marrickville
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 8:42AM
    • It isn't an original observation, but as far as I know it is incontrovertible:

      "The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment."

      Commenter
      Redsaunas
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 8:53AM
    • Remind me of how many jobs there are in Tasmania?

      If it wasn't for the other states wealth generation Tasmania would be bankrupt.

      For example Tasmania receives $4000 per capita of revenue compared to $2000 per capita for NSW/QLD/VIC/ACT or $1000 per capita in WA.

      http://www.gstdistributionreview.gov.au/content/reports/interimmarch2012/downloads/Interim_Report_March2012_appendixc.pdf

      Sustainable economy? I think not.

      Commenter
      SilverTail
      Location
      UpperNorthShore
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 9:07AM
    • Yes but without jobs, you won't have the resources to help the environment.

      To actually be in a position to give money to environmental groups or volunteer or whatever, you need money first (specifically, you need financial stability). And money comes from having a job.

      People who are unemployed, desperate and constantly trying to make ends meet do not have the luxury of worrying about charity.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 9:09AM
    • I agree with Christopher. If only the First Fleet never sailed to Australia, this country would have infinite jobs. /sarcasm

      Greed is good. Investment in renewable energy and sustainability are driven by greed and self-interest.

      Commenter
      Aussie Capitalist
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 9:12AM
    • Meanwhile, Tony Abbott this morning was talking about "removing red tape from business" and how it would "create 1 million new jobs" - shame that (reading the obvious between the lines) those million new jobs will mostly be casual or part time, with few or no benefits like leave, super, or any kind of job security or longer term career path.

      It's not just jobs per se that people need, but stability & a career path, otherwise it's impossible to plan for things like families & home ownership.

      Commenter
      ali
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 9:15AM
    • SilverTail, I hope you remember your comment and your attitude 20 years from now.

      Commenter
      kg2095
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 9:17AM
    • Silvertail, it might be also worth asking where is Tasmania's equal share of public service and defence spending.

      Commenter
      mark
      Date and time
      December 05, 2012, 9:21AM

More comments

Comments are now closed

Related Coverage

Featured advertisers

Special offers

Credit card, savings and loan rates by Mozo